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.
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