The plaintiff, 39 years old, was from the Dominican Republic. He earned $528 monthly as a pantry or buffet worker making appetizers and salads on the vessel. The plaintiff was injured while working on board the defendant’s vessel, Mardi Gras, when a stack of plastic boxes called lexons was being pushed and suddenly caught in a crack in the floor resulting in the plaintiff and the stack falling. The plaintiff cut his leg on a cracked or chipped lexon when he fell.
The plaintiff claimed that he should have been provided with a cart or more assistance to move the boxes. The defendant claimed that plaintiff chose an unsafe method of moving the boxes, and that he only scraped his leg. The plaintiff also claimed that he got improper and inadequate medical care since the cut became infected resulting in an aggravation of a preexisting varicose vein problem. The defendant claimed that plaintiff’s aggravation lasted nine months at best and that plaintiff’s remaining problems was due to the normal progression of venous insufficiency from the varicose veins.
Orthopedist Stephen Ticktin, M.D. testified for the plaintiff that the scrape which became infected aggravated the varicose vein problem and that the infection did not heal as fast due to the underlying varicose vein problem. Dr. Ticktin further testified that plaintiff had a 20% disability and could not work on vessels anymore, but could work on land at a sedentary job. Vascular surgeon, Dr. Sendischew testified by deposition for the plaintiff and the defendant that an aggravation occurred but that it did not permanently affect the preexisting varicose vein problem. Further Dr. Sendischew testified that after one month, of the leg not healing, the plaintiff should have been sent to a vascular specialist. As a result, the plaintiff had a delay in healing of about eight months. Dr. Stewart McIntyre, infectious disease specialist testified for defendant that plaintiff’s infection, which resulted in a hospitalization, was not related to the incident and was the result of a virus that causes mono.
The defendant served an offer of judgment in the amount of $20,000. The jury found the defendant to be liable for Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness and failure to provide prompt, proper, and adequate medical care. The plaintiff was found to be 10% comparatively negligent.
$575,000.00 awarded to seafarer.