Maritime Lawyers Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman to Represent 5 El Faro Crew Members in Lawsuit


MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Miami-based maritime law firm Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. has been retained by 5 of the missing crewmembers’ families from the tragic El Faro cargo ship accident.

On November 2, 2015, the law firm filed an action against Tote Maritime Puerto Rico, the shipping company that owns El Faro. The lawsuit alleges negligence and gross negligence seeks to hold the shipowners responsible for all damages available under the law, including punitive damages.

El Faro, a 40-year-old, 735-foot-long commercial vessel, experienced propulsion issues near Crooked Island in the Bahamas while sailing from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a result, the ship was caught in the middle of Hurricane Joaquin on Thursday, October 1, 2015, at which point the hurricane was listed as a Category 4 storm. Upon realizing the dangerous conditions they would be encountering, the crew sent an SOS, advising that the vessel had been disabled, and was also listing as well as flooding.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard immediately initiated a search and rescue mission for the ship after losing communication, but were unable to locate the vessel or any of its 33 missing crew members. The search was called off on October 7 after ship debris and only one body were found. On October 31, the NTSB located the wreckage of the El Faro at a depth of 15,000 feet. The search continues for the Voyage Data Recorder.

After the tragic maritime accident, three former El Faro crew members came forward and stated that the vessel had several structural problems, including a tendency to take on water.

In a press conference on Monday November 2, 2015, Attorney Michael Winkleman said “We expect this to be a long fight; and we intend to fight this as long as it takes. Seafarers have been facing the dangers of the high seas for centuries, and tragedies like El Faro make it clear that those risks are just as real today as they were centuries ago. We are honored to take on this fight on behalf of these 5 families, and on behalf of the maritime seagoing community as a whole. This is a tragedy that could have been and should have been avoided.”

Currently, Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is only one of a few law firms that are filing lawsuits on behalf of the El Faro victims. Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. specializes in admiralty and maritime law, with a concentration in maritime injury and death – especially cases involving seaman claims. Because of the unique and complicated issues of admiralty and maritime law, it is imperative that all of the families have experienced admiralty and maritime attorneys involved to protect their rights.

About Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A.

The maritime lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. have over 200 years of combined experience in maritime claims and successfully handled over 2,000 cases, including many high profile maritime cases including the Costa Concordia and Carnival Triumph disasters. The firm has recently received the recognition of Best Law Firms by US News & World Report.

via Business Wire

November 06, 2015