$775,000 – Torn Rotator Cuff, Ligaments and Tendons
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Injuries alleged: torn rotator cuff, ligaments, tendons cartilage in shoulder
Name of case: Plaintiff v. O’Hara Corporation
Court/case #: United States District Court, District of Massachusetts 09-11549
Tried before judge or jury (or mediation): Settled
Name of judge: Judge Zobel
Amount (specify award or settlement): $775,000.00
Date (of verdict or settlement): August 2011
Summary of Evidence
Plaintiff was a crew member on a scallop boat, the F/V NASHIRA. On the evening of the Plaintiff’s injury, the work deck was mostly full of scallops. After a pile of scallops was dumped on the deck, the Captain then lowered the dredge down on top of the pile of scallops with the cutting bar and bail approximately the height of the rail and the goose neck and bull ring lying on deck near the strongback at the center of the vessel with the chainbag outboard of the rail. The Plaintiff then climbed up onto the dredge and attached the tail chain to the frame of the dredge.
After the cargo hook was unhooked from the dumping chain, the Plaintiff grabbed onto the hook with his left hand, turned to his right and proceeded to walk down the dredge frame toward the bullring using the hook in his left hand for support and balance. While walking down the dredge frame toward the bullring while leaning on the hook, the hook went slack causing the Plaintiff to fall face first toward the center of the vessel and injured his shoulder.
The Plaintiff sustained a massive tear of the rotator cuff of his right shoulder tearing multiple tendons, muscles, cartilages, ligaments and dislocation of bicep tendon. Plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery.
The Plaintiff alleges that at the time of the alleged incident he was using the proper and customary procedure with the New England scallop fishery for dumping and hooking up a dredge with a deck load of scallops. The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant’s Captain negligently slacked off the cargo hook upon which the plaintiff was leaning prior to the Plaintiff stepping off the dredge onto the deck thereby causing him to fall face first toward the strongback at the center of the vessel. Plaintiff claimed the cargo hook went slack because the winch slipped was unseaworthiness. Also, the vessel was unseaworthy in that the Captain’s vision was impeded and slacked off without knowing Plaintiff still was holding onto the hook.
Plaintiff could not return back out fishing or any type of heavy physical labor but could do light sedentary work.