Tugboat Sinks Four Months After Latti & Anderson LLP Obtains $2.25 Million Settlement for Injured Crewmember

The Baltimore Sun reported that a 102-foot tugboat, the KALEEN MCALLISTER, sank late at night on May 4. Mike Reagoso, the vice president of Mid-Atlantic operations for McAllister Towing, told the Sun that the tugboat struck a submerged object and began taking on water. A US Coast Guard spokesman said that efforts to pump water out of the tug faster than it was coming in failed, and the vessel sank off Pier 3 in Baltimore’s Locust Point. The USCG will be investigating as to the cause of the sinking.

While everyone left the tugboat by the time it sank and nobody was injured, Latti & Anderson LLP obtained a settlement this past January for a crewmember who sustained serious injuries while working onboard the KALEEN MCALLISTER. Our client was a seaman and member of the crew as a deck utility on the tugboat in July 2009 when he determined that that smoke was coming from a circuit breaker on an electrical panel in the galley. In accordance with company procedure, the seaman notified the fleet engineer on shore of the fire. While the fleet engineer stated that the tugboat needed to return to port to be inspected, the captain disagreed and said the crew was going to its next job and would not be returning to port.

The fleet engineer then instructed our client to secure the individual damaged breaker at the panel.  Pursuant to the order, the crew member shut off the break and saw a bright white flash and was thrown back. Touching the damaged breaker with a bare hand caused our client to sustain a complex electrical injuries that included post electrocution shock syndrome, neurological injuries, brain injury, cognitive and memory deficits, injury to autonomic system, chronic fatigue syndrome, neutrally and centrally mediated postural hypotension and ligamentous injuries to the cervical spine. Despite the seaman being totally disabled from returning to work full time, the company claimed our client “was able to return to work within several months after the electrical shock and that all the problems Mr. Collins were having were not causally related to the electrical shock.” We were able to settle the case for $2.25 million right before the trial was set to begin.

In this case, our firm was able to demonstrate how the unseaworthiness of the KALEEN MCALLISTER, specifically the defective circuit breaker,  caused our client’s catastrophic injuries. Additionally, we were able to prove that the  failure to provide a safe place to work for Mr. Collins in that his superiors ordered him to shut off a circuit breaker that had a catastrophic failure and the failure to properly maintain and repair a circuit breaker  was considered negligence under the Jones Act.  To learn more about tug and barge accidents, please visit our website. If you sustained serious injuries or your loved one was killed while working on a tugboat, you could be entitled to compensation for your long-term needs. Contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to schedule a free consultation or enter your information in the form on this page to have our Boston maritime trial lawyers review your case.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime attorneys