Jones Act Litigation – A Case of Negligence & Unseaworthiness
On Dec. 21, 2010, deckhand Johnny C. Doll fell in an open manhole at night when working aboard a barge used by Boh. Bros. Construction Company in the construction of the new Interstate 10 over Lake Ponchartrain. Johnny C. Doll, Jr. filed suit against Boh. Bros. Construction Co. on May 9, 2011 in Federal Court in New Orleans for not providing him with a flashlight.
Doll states he was walking in a darkened area and fell due to an open manhole on the deck of the barge, or some other object, which he could not see. Doll claims he had requested a flashlight but the request was not fulfilled. The defendant, Boh. Bros. Construction Co., is accused of negligence as well as having an unseaworthy vessel by not having the correct equipment, flashlights or other illumination, so that Doll would not have to walk in darkened areas of the vessel or adjacent barges.
According to news sources, Doll is seeking more than $750,000 in damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement, disability, loss of physical function, loss of ability to enjoy life and the ability to pursue happiness, inconvenience, humiliation, embarrassment, maintenance and cure and interest.
Defense Base Act – Workers Compensation Claims
The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Under the Federal Defense Base Act, if you are working as a U.S. government contractor overseas, and are injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits such as medical care.
The Defense Base Act covers the following type of workers:
1. Workers for private employers on U.S. military bases or on any lands employed by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the United States, which includes those in U.S. Territories and possessions
2. Workers on public-function contracts with any U.S. government agency, which includes construction and service contracts in connection with national defense or with war activities outside the United States
3. Workers on contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Help Act, normally providing for cash sale of military equipment, materials, and services to its allies, if the contract is performed outside of the United States
4. Workers for American employers supplying welfare or similar services outside of the United States for the benefit of the Armed Forces.
Benefits under the Defense Base Act
The Defense Base Act offers disability, medical, and death benefits to covered employees who are injured or killed while in employment, no matter whether or not the injury or death occurred during work hours. The injured employee is entitled to medical treatment by a physician of his or her choice. Medical benefits may not be commuted. Permanent total disability and death may be payable for life.