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Seattle Fisherman Andrew Fotu Dies In Accident On Fishing Company of Alaska-owned F/V ALASKA JURIS

On March 1, 2012, a Seattle fisherman, Andrew Fotu, died when he was working on ALASKA JURIS, a fish trawler. The newspapers and Coast Guard press release reported that Mr. Fotu died when a "cable snapped and struck him in the head." Our investigation has determined that a towing cable did not snap - meaning it did not break or separate. Rather, it appears that the cable was made taut or pulled tight, which caused the cable to rise up and strike Mr. Fotu. The employer should not operate a winch or run the hydraulics when crew are standing near a line. It seems that FCA could be deemed liable by a jury in this case.

Children and spouses of deceased fishermen may recover compensation for the loss of their loved one and financial provider. The law (Jones Act and General Maritime Law) provides that a negligent employer (or owner of an unseaworthy vessel) must pay for (1) loss of financial support, (2) loss of services, (3) loss of care, nurture and guidance, and (4) loss of inheritance. Further, the estate will be able to recover for the pain and suffering that the decedent sustained in the accident.

Our investigation has determined that Mr. Fotu may have a young child. If that were the case, the child could recover for the amounts that the child's dad would have paid for housing, schooling, food, etc., through the age of majority. For loss of services, the child could recover compensation for the value of the services that the dad would have provided - for instance, fixing the family car, fixing the family home, etc. The care, nurture and guidance recovery includes the value of the advice provided by a dad to a child, the value of the upbringing and rearing, teaching the child how to play sports, etc. The compensation in this case could easily be in excess of a million dollars.

We will continue to monitor this case to determine more facts of the accident.

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Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC
4039 21st Avenue West
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Seattle, WA 98199

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