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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