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August 2015

HAVE YOU EXHAUSTED YOUR UNION REMEDY?

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Many seamen are wrongfully terminated by shipowners. This can arise from the misconduct of the seaman, improper conduct by the shipowner, or a combination of factors. Where there exists a collective bargaining agreement between the shipowner and the union, the seaman is bound to follow the grievance procedure outlined in any such agreement. That procedure must first be "exhausted" before any separate legal action can be initiated on behalf of the seaman. The seaman cannot simply file a lawsuit against the shipowner for their improper conduct without first following the detailed contractual requirements.

QUESTION FROM THE BRIDGE

I'm a chief cook and on my last trip the Captain harassed me regarding the food and menu. I was terminated by him before the end of my service time and now will lose months of wages. I don't think this is fair. Can I sue the company for this?
Larry A., Jacksonville, FL

Answer:
The first thing you must do is contact your union representative and find out what your collective bargaining agreement says. Usually you will have to first file a formal grievance with your union and exhaust the steps set forth in the agreement. If you follow that procedure and still are not satisfied with the outcome, you should consult a lawyer familiar with maritime law to see if you can file suit. However, if you don't follow the procedure in the collective bargaining agreement first, the shipowner will have a defense to your claim.

About Our Law Firm

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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When you retain Lyle C. Cavin, Jr. & Associates for a Jones Act injury claim; or personal injury claim, you don't get just one attorney, you get our entire team of dedicated professionals. Our attorneys offer more than 150 combined years of courtroom and negotiated claims settlement experience. We will represent your interests with unwavering dedication, speed and expertise.

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Admiralty/Maritime Law Practice
  • Firm Overview Admiralty/Maritime Law
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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Personal Injury Law practice
  • Firm Overview Personal Injury
Companies We've Successfully Litigated Against
  • Alaska Steamship Co.
  • American Export Lines
  • American Hawaii Cruises
  • American Hawaiian Steamship Co.
  • American Mail Lines
  • American Navigation
  • American President Lines
  • American Seafoods Co.,
  • American Ship Management, LLC
  • American Steamship Co.
  • AMNAV
  • Apex Maine Corp.
  • Atlantic Richfield Co.
  • Atlas Steam
  • BAE Systems
  • Bangor Trading Company
  • Bann Ocean Towing
  • Blue & Gold Fleet
  • Boston Ocean Carriers
  • Brinkerhoff Marine
  • Brown & Root
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Celebrity Cruises, Inc.,
  • Central Gulf Lines
  • Chevron Oil Co.
  • Chevron Shipping, Chevron U.S.A.,
  • China Ocean Shipping Co. Dba COSCO
  • Commodore Cruises
  • CONOCO Phillips
  • 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
  • EXXON Shipping Co.
  • Farrell Lines, Inc
  • Faust
  • Fishing Company Of Alaska
  • Foss Maritime Co.
  • Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District
  • Golden Gate Ferry
  • Grace Lines
  • Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co ILL
  • Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. CA
  • Harbor Bay Ferry
  • Harbor Marine
  • Harbor Tug & Barge
  • Hellenic Lines
  • Holland America Line Holland America N.V,
  • Horizon Lines
  • Horizon Tug & Barge
  • Interocean Management
  • International Marine Carriers NY
  • Isthmian Lines, Isthmian S.S. Co.
  • Keystone Shipping Co.
  • Kloster Cruise Ltd
  • 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.
  • Maersk Lines
  • MARAD
  • Marine Transport Lines
  • Maritime Overseas Corporation R. G. Naggiar MOC,
  • Matson Navigation Co.
  • Moore-Mccormack Lines, Inc.,
  • Murphy Pacific Tug
  • Nicholas Bachko Co. Inc.
  • Norquest Seafoods
  • North American Trailing Co
  • Norwegian American Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line NCL
  • Ocean Shipholdings, Inc
  • Ocean Ships, Inc.
  • Omi Bulk Management Co.
  • Oscar Neimath Towing
  • Pacific Far East Lines Inc.
  • Pacific Gulf Marine
  • Pacific Long Lines
  • Patriot Contract Services
  • PM&O Lines
  • Polar Tankers
  • Royal Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises, Inc., Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd.
  • PRONAV
  • Prudential Lines
  • Puglia
  • Red & White
  • Red & White Fleet
  • Reynolds Metals Marine Division
  • SF Bar Pilots Ass'n
  • Sargent Marine
  • Sause Bros
  • Sea-Land Service, Inc.
  • Seariver Maritime, Inc.
  • Signature Seafoods, Inc.
  • Standard Oil Of California
  • Star Cruises
  • Star Shipping (USWC), Inc.
  • States Line
  • States Marine Corp.
  • Texaco, Inc.,
  • TOSCO
  • Tidewater, Inc.,
  • Tide Water Sand & Gravel
  • Transport Mutual Services, Inc.
  • Trinidad Corporation
  • Triple Star, Inc
  • Tudor -Saliba
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Dept. Of Justice, Torts Branch
  • United States Lines U.S. Lines, Inc.
  • Union Oil Co.
  • Victory Carriers
  • Vulcan Carriers
  • Waterman Steamship Corp.
  • Watters Marine Inc.
  • Westar Marine Services
  • World Explorer Cruises
  • Zim Container Line