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News From Stacey & Jacobsen Archives

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: Serving Those Who Serve Us

Stacey & Jacobsen supports our local Navy service members and families through the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS). NMCRS is a non-profit organization and, as such, programs are funded completely through charitable donations.

Fishing Vessel ALASKAN LEADER Catches Fire In Bering Sea

Thursday a major engine room fire was reported aboard the 137-foot ALASKAN LEADER. The ALASKAN LEADER is one of the largest longline vessels in the Bering Sea fleet. The 23 member crew of the Alaska long lining vessel was able to contain the fire. The Coast Guard Cutter was sent to the scene to help the stricken vessel and is now escorting the Alaska Leader to Dutch Harbor. The vessel was approximately 100 miles northwest of Unimak Pass in the Bering Sea when the fire broke out. There were no reported injuries in the incident. The vessel was able to retain power in one of its two engines, and was able to navigate under restricted conditions. Investigators for the Coast Guard will meet the vessel in Dutch Harbor to investigate the cause of the fire.

Maritime Employer Must Pay Punitive Damages For Wrongful Treatment of Seamen

In a case now pending in the Washington State Supreme Court, steps are being taken to ensure all seamen get their right of maintenance and cure and those who deny it are punished. The monumental case is Clausen v. Icicle Seafoods, Inc., where a fisherman was denied maintenance and cure even though he was injured while in the service of a vessel. Maintenance and cure are traditional remedies under maritime law. "Maintenance" is the daily payment to cover certain living expenses expected while on a vessel; "cure" refers to the payment of certain medical bills. They are designed to provide a seaman with food, lodging and medical care when one becomes sick or injured in the vessel's service. The OSCEOLA, 189 U.S. 158, 175, 23 S. Ct. 483, 47 L. Ed. 760 (1903); Vaughan v. Atkinson, 369 U.S. 527, 532, 82 S. Ct. 997, 8 L. Ed. 2d 88 (1962). Maintenance and cure are no-fault obligations employers must fulfill so long as the injury occurred while in the ship's service and until the seaman reaches maximum cure. West v. Midland Enters., 227 F.3d 613, 616 (6th Cir. 2000), Gardiner v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 786 F. 2d 943, 945-46 (9th Cir. 1986).

Court Rules Loss of Consortium Available To Injured Seaman in Western District of Washington

Federal District Judge Marsha Pechman has ruled that an injured seaman's loss of consortium claim is permitted under the general maritime law unseaworthiness doctrine. Applying the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Atlantic Sounding v. Townsend, 129 S. CT. 2561 (2009), Judge Pechman ruled that the general maritime law loss of consortium claim could not be dismissed on a motion for summary judgment, finding it was appropriate under the unseaworthiness doctrine but not available under Jones Act negligence claims.

Blue North Reaches Confidential Settlement With Fish Processor In Freezer Hold Accident Claim

A crewman injured in a cargo conveyor belt accident has reached a confidential settlement with Blue North Fisheries. The case arose out of an accident in the BLUE ATTU's freezer hold while the vessel was fishing in the Bering Sea. The crewman suffered a crushed index finger in the accident, requiring surgery.

Appellate Court Upholds 2.77 Million Dollar Verdict For Injured Fisherman

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2.77 million dollar verdict for clam boat crewman Wojciech Bielunas, who suffered a severely fractured foot. Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP represented Bielunas at trial and on appeal. A jury awarded Bielunas the compensation following a two-week jury trial in Boston in the summer of 2009.

Marine Electrician Recovers $740,000 Jones Act Verdict After Fall From Ladder

A marine electrician has recovered $740,000 in compensation under the Jones Act after falling from a ladder aboard ship. A Seattle, Washington jury returned a verdict after hearing evidence of the seaman's injuries. The crewman suffered a complex fracture to his jaw and post concussion syndrome. At the time of trial, the crewman had resumed his duties aboard ship but continued to complain of occasional migraine headaches.

$700,000 Hearing Loss Claim - Life Boat Drills

An able bodied seaman was injured while participating in life boat drills aboard a tanker ship. The brake for the winch used to lower and raise the life boat failed, causing the winch handle to spin out of control, striking the seaman in the head. The blow smashed the seaman's hard hat, fractured his skull, and caused bilateral fractures in the seaman's ear bones. The 65 year old seaman had total hearing loss in one ear and partial hearing loss in the other ear. He also suffered from dizziness and tinnitus. Remarkably, life boat drills aboard ships have resulted in many accidents and deaths for crewmen, and extreme care and caution must be used during these important drills.

Court Denies Fishing Company's Request For Vocational Exam of Injured Worker

In a case currently pending in King County, Seattle, Elliottt v. Seafreeze Alaska, et al., a Superior Court a judge has denied Seafreeze Alaska's motion to have an injured fish processor examined by a vocational counselor.


Icicle Seafoods has been ordered to pay an injured seaman $ 387,558 in an attorney fee award plus $40,500 in case expenses arising out of a November 16, 2009 jury trial in King County. Dana Clausen, a crewman working for Icicle Seafoods, was previously awarded 1.3 million dollars in punitive damages for Icicle's willful and wanton failure to pay maintenance and cure benefits.

Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC
4039 21st Avenue West
Suite 401
Seattle, WA 98199

Toll Free: 866-974-9633
Phone: 206-452-1282
Fax: 206-282-1149
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