Jury Awards Maine Tanker Captain $2M
By Patricia Nealon
The Boston Globe
February 22, 1997

A former oil tanker captain from Maine has won a $2 million verdict against the owner of a tanker for a shoulder injury that will prevent him from ever captaining a ship again.

Eric Wilson, 36, of Falmouth, Maine, was awarded the money Thursday by a jury in US District Court in Boston. The jury heard evidence for two weeks in Wilson’s suit against the owner of the tanker, Maritime Overseas of New York City.

According to Wilson’s attorney, Michael Latti of Boston, Wilson was injured in January 1994 while working as a chief mate on a 900-foot tanker owned by the company. Wilson was making repairs to a cargo tank filled with water when a wave swept him into a beam, Latti said.

Wilson suffered a compound fracture between his shoulder blades from which he recovered in a few weeks, Latti said. But the injury prevented him from walking up the steep onboard ladders and as a result he was not able to renew his captain’s license in 1995, Latti said. He had been promoted to captain that year.

Latti said the large award was for the mental anguish of Wilson, a descendant of sea captains who now sells water purification equipment.