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August 2014

BE CAREFUL OF RELEASE CLAUSES THAT PREVENT YOU FROM WORKING

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When a crew member's claim is resolved against a defendant for injury, there is a big increase in shipowners insisting on the seaman to sign a "no-sail" clause. This means the shipowner is insisting that in exchange for a monetary settlement they want the seaman to agree not to sail on their ships after the settlement. If this should arise, the seaman needs proper legal advice. Although such a clause may be appropriate in some limited circumstances, it is ill-advised in the great bulk of cases that are settled. Beware of this language!

QUESTION FROM THE BRIDGE

I brought a lawsuit against my employer after I suffered a severe injury on a ship. I am trying to reach a settlement with them, and they are insisting that I agree never to seek employment with them again. Can they do this?
Jeremy M., Reno, NV

Answer:
Jeremy,
What your employer is asking for is called a "no-sail clause." It is not to be taken lightly, and it is enforceable, so do not sign it without seeking legal advice! Congress has passed laws, such as the Jones Act, that protect you from being forced into signing away your rights just because you have brought a lawsuit against a company who has harmed you. These clauses should only be invoked if the settlement amount they are offering you has a high dollar amount, or if it is physically impossible for you to return to work. You should know that if you do sign it, you can, however, return to work for other companies

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For more than four decades, merchant mariners, longshoremen, fishermen and harbor workers plying their trades at sea, on the docks, on our U.S. coastal waters and inland waterways have turned to the maritime law firm of Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates in Oakland. Today, we are proud to be recognized as one of the preeminent maritime law firms serving injured marine workers nationwide, as well as one of the most successful personal injury litigation firms serving victims of negligence in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the West Coast.

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Admiralty/Maritime Law Practice
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Recent Verdicts & Settlements
  • Maritime Personal Injury - Livestock tender back injury
    Result - Settled for $250,000.
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury - Back/Hip Injury.
    Result – Settled for $2,000,000.
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury - Knee injury.
    Result – Settled for $2,000,000.
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Respiratory injury.
    Result – Settled for $825,000.
  • Wrongful Death - Bicycle accident.
    Pedestrian hit and killed by speeding bicyclist.
    Result - Settled for $2,105,000.
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury - Seaman fell from ladder on tug boat.
    Result - Judge awarded plaintiff $832,236
  • Personal Injury - Sexual assault of a developmentally disabled minor by school bus driver.
    Result – Settled for $645,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Catastrophic container ship accident.
    Result – Settled for $4,250,000
  • Fishing boat accident – Fisherman suffered traumatic head injury after being hit by a metal float.
    Result – Settled for $5,000,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Fall from ladder aboard ship.
    Result – Settled for $1,400,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Crewmember committed suicide.
    Result – Settled for $820,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Seaman injured while moving between tug boats.
    Result – Settled for $800,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Catastrophic container ship accident.
    Result – Settled for $3,500,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Repetitive stress injury.
    Result – Settled for $1,525,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury.
    Result – Settled for $1,075,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Slip and fall on the deck of a tanker.
    Result – Settled for $2,300,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Seaman fell from top of crane cab.
    Result – Jury awarded $3,170,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Catastrophic container ship accident.
    Result – Settled for $1,925,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Benzene exposure.
    Result – Settled for $670,000
  • Jones Act/Maritime Personal Injury – Catastrophic container ship accident.
    Result – Settled for $1,500,000
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Companies We've Successfully Litigated Against
  • Alaska Steamship Co.
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  • American Seafoods Co.,
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  • Chevron Oil Co.
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  • China Ocean Shipping Co. Dba COSCO
  • Commodore Cruises
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  • Cove Companies Cove Shipping, Inc.
  • Crest Tankers, Inc.
  • Crowley Maritime Corporation
  • CS Marine
  • Cunard Steamship Co., Ltd.
  • Diamond M, Diamond M. Offshore, Inc.
  • Dutra Construction Co
  • Esso Shipping Co.
  • Evergreen
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  • Farrell Lines, Inc
  • Faust
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  • Isthmian Lines, Isthmian S.S. Co.
  • Keystone Shipping Co.
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  • Liberty Maritime
  • Luckenbach S. S. Co.
  • Luckenbach Overseas Corp., 400 U.S. 494, 1971 AMC 277 (1971).
  • Lykes Bros. Steamship Co Lykes Bros. S.S. Co.
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  • Matson Navigation Co.
  • Moore-Mccormack Lines, Inc.,
  • Murphy Pacific Tug
  • Nicholas Bachko Co. Inc.
  • Norquest Seafoods
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  • Norwegian American Line
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  • Ocean Shipholdings, Inc
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  • Union Oil Co.
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  • World Explorer Cruises
  • Zim Container Line