Longshoreman Can Sue Ship’s Owner.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act allows injured longshoremen working for independent contractors to sue vessels if they can show that the vessel owner had: (a) active control over the area where the injury occurred; (b) turnover duty to maintain gear and the like; or (c) an intervention duty. In Blackwell v. Bonamare Navigation, Blackwell was injured while unloading cargo from a docked vessel. He claimed that Bonamare, the vessel owner, had breached all 3 of the specified duties.

Bonamare moved for summary judgment and the federal court has now weighed in — https://ecf.njd.uscourts.gov/doc1/11915211353 The court rejected the motion for summary judgment and held that the vessel owner, at a trial, could be found to have had “active control” over the accident site and thus liability. The case will therefore proceed to trial, unless, of course, a commercial accommodation can be reached.

If you would like more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.