$900,000 – Herniated Disc

Award Amount: $900,000

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Admiralty
Pennant Lifting

Amount of award: $900,000

Injuries alleged: Herniated Disc, disc protrusion

Name of case: Plaintiff v. Sheridan Transportation Corp.

Court/case#: 97-12101-JLT

Tried before judge or jury: Jury

Amount of award: $900,000

Date: Aug. 25, 1999

Demand: $400,000

Most Helpful Expert: Capt. George Sadler, Newburyport; Dr. Samuel Doeppelt, Orthopedist, Cambridge; Paul Blatchford, vocational expert, Brookline

Attorneys for plaintiff: Michael B. Latti, Carolyn M. Latti, Latti Associates, Boston

Attorney for defendant: Withheld

On July 8, 1997, the plaintiff was employed as a boatswain on a 755-foot integrated tug barge.

On that day the plaintiff allegedly lifted a 250-300 pound pennant line over a rail and herniated a disc in his back.

The plaintiff continued to work and did not report the accident until approximately Aug. 4, 1997, when he received a “not fit for duty” and was discharged from the vessel.

The plaintiff’s case focused on the alleged duties of the defendant to provide a safe place to work and to stop dangerous operations from occurring.

The plaintiff produced evidence suggesting that the defendant was warned by its safety expert that the procedure used for lifting pennants on the tug barge was dangerous and could increase the risk of back injury.

The plaintiff’s case also focused on the defendant’s alleged failure to provide alternative equipment, common to the industry, which would eliminate lifting the pennants over the rail.

The defendant contended that the manner in which the plaintiff manually lifted the pennant was not proper procedure and that it was the plaintiff’s duty to devise alternative procedures.

The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $900,000.

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