Ship Owner’s Obligation To Provide Maintenance And Cure Terminated When Seaman’s Incurable Condition Of Multiple Sclerosis Was Declared “Permanent” By Seaman’s Physician.
MELODEE WHITMAN, PLAINTIFF v. RICK MILES, DEFENDANT
CIVIL NO. 03-61-P-H
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE
2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20906
November 20, 2003, Decided
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment granted in part.
Plaintiff sailor sued defendant ship owner for maintenance and cure. The ship owner moved for summary judgment.
While working on board the owner’s ship, the sailor began experiencing symptoms that included fatigue, loss of balance, numbness, and incontinence. The sailor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which was incurable. The ship owner paid the sailor’s medical bills for initial treatment, but did not pay for treatment or living expenses following the diagnosis. About a month after the initial diagnosis, a specialist determined that the sailor’s condition had resolved to the extent that she had only some mild and tingling feelings. The sailor had suffered periodic exacerbations since that time. The court found that the sailor’s condition was “permanent” for purposes of terminating the ship owner’s maintenance and cure obligation. The ship owner conceded that his obligation extended for a short period of time after the initial diagnosis, but the sailor offered no facts from which the court could find that her condition was capable of being improved after the specialist’s determination that it had resolved. Slowing or arresting a decline was not the same as effecting an improvement. The specialist’s opinion sufficiently established that the sailor’s condition was permanent.
The ship owner was granted partial summary judgment as to all maintenance and cure after the date of the specialist’s diagnosis, as to all lodging expenses, and as to attorney fees. The ship owner was responsible for an additional month of the sailor’s food and medical expenses following the initial diagnosis.
Summary Judgment Made In Favor Of Company Regarding Claims Made By Seaman Against Company Named In The Preamble To A Collective Bargaining Agreement Between The Seaman’s Union And Seaman’s Employer; Additionally, Claims Made For Jones Act Negligence And Maintenance And Cure Made Against Ship Owner Which Is Not Seaman’s Employer Also Summary Judged Out.
GLEN A. BAUMGART, Plaintiff, -against- TRANSOCEANIC CABLE SHIP COMPANY, INC. and C/S GLOBAL MARINER, L.P., Defendants.
No. 01 Civ. 5990 (LTS) (HBP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OFNEW YORK
2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19921
November 7, 2003, Decided
Motions ruled upon by Baumgart v. Transoceanic Cable Ship Co., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19921 (S.D.N.Y., Nov. 7, 2003)
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted in part and denied in part.
Plaintiff seaman sued defendant vessel owner, employer, and another company for injuries he sustained while serving on board a vessel, including claims of unseaworthiness, negligence under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.S. app. § 688, and maintenance and cure. Defendants moved for summary judgment.
The employer and vessel owner were not entitled to summary judgment on the unseaworthiness claims because it was undisputed that the seaman was employed exclusively by the employer, that the vessel owner owned the vessel upon which he was injured, and that the employer was the demise charterer at the time the injuries were incurred. However, the unseaworthiness, negligence, and maintenance and cure claims against the other company did not survive as the seaman offered no evidence as to that company’s role other than pointing out that it was named in the preamble to a collective bargaining agreement between the seamen’s union and the employer. The Jones Act and maintenance and cure claims against the vessel owner were dismissed as those claims could only be asserted against a seaman’s employer.
The motion for summary judgment was granted with respect to the claims against the other company, and the negligence and maintenance and cure claims against the vessel’s owner, but was otherwise denied.
Where Alleged Medical Malpractice Occurred On Ship Which Had Not Yet Reached The Edge Of The Gulfstream Off The Coast Of Florida, The Incident Occurred In Florida Territorial Waters So As To Defeat The Ship Doctor’s Motion To Dismiss.
ROGER C. BENSON and PATRICIA HARDY-SMITH, individually andas Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of NOAH BENJAMIN BENSON, a minor,Appellants, vs. NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE LIMITED, and CARLA VON BENECKE, M.D.,Appellees.
CASE NO. 3D01-1845
COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT
2003 Fla. App. LEXIS 16714
November 5, 2003, Opinion Filed
An appeal from the Circuit Court for Dade County, Judith L. Kreeger, Judge. LOWER TRIBUNAL NO. 99-4704. Opinion Substituted for Opinion dated January 15, 2003 reported at: Benson v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., 834 So. 2d 915, 2003 Fla. App. LEXIS 225 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist., 2003)
Reversed and remanded.
The court withdrew an earlier opinion and substituted the instant opinion. Appellant parents brought a wrongful death action asserting medical malpractice against appellees, a cruise line and a cruise ship doctor. The court ruled that the ship was outside Florida’s territorial waters at the relevant times and granted a motion to dismiss as to the doctor. The parents appealed from the Dade County Circuit Court (Florida).
Where alleged medical malpractice aboard a cruise ship occurred when the ship was 11.7 nautical miles east of the Florida shore, the medical malpractice incident occurred within Florida’s territorial waters. The ship had not yet reached the edge of the Gulf Stream, which was 14 nautical miles east of the relevant portion of Florida’s coastline on the day in question. Thus, based on the boundary as stated in Fla. Const. art. II, § 1 (1968), the claimed incident occurred within Florida’s territorial boundaries. The doctor argued that under the federal Submerged Lands Act, 43 U.S.C.S. § 1301 et seq., Florida was not allowed to claim an Atlantic territorial sea greater than three nautical miles. That was not so. The present case did not involve any claim of ownership of the ocean bed or the resources contained therein and the Submerged Lands Act did not prevent Florida from asserting a territorial sea beyond three miles in the Atlantic, and exercising police powers thereon. The conduct at issue occurred on the ocean’s surface, not on the ocean bottom. International law was not addressed, as the incident occurred when the cruise ship was less than 12 nautical miles offshore.
The appellate court reversed the judgment dismissing the doctor from the lawsuit, and remanded for further proceedings. In light of the opinion, the motion for rehearing and certification of a question of great public importance were denied.