Ventzislav Blagoev v. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

April 12, 2011

Ventzislav Blagoev v. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Seaman’s Complaint Without the Prepayment of Costs

This Complaint was filed on behalf of a seaman against Regent Seven Seas Cruises for compensation due to the negligence of Regent, the unseaworthiness of their vessel, and their failure to adequately treat the Plaintiff’s medical conditions.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
BROWARD DIVISION

CASE NO.
VENTZISLAV BLAGOEV,
Plaintiff,

vs.

REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES, Inc.,
RADISSON SEVEN SEAS (FRANCE) SNC,
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING SERVICES LTD.
And XYZ Corporation
Defendants.
___________________________/

SEAMEN’S COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF COSTS

PURSUANT TO 28 USCS § 1916, AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff sues Defendant(s) and alleges:

1. Plaintiff is a citizen of Bulgaria.
2. The amount in controversy exceeds, exclusive of interest and costs, the sum specified by 28 U.S.C. 1332. In the event diversity jurisdiction does not apply then this matter is being brought under the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the court. Furthermore, this matter is filed pursuant to 28 USCS § 1916, which expressly states that “[i]n all courts of the United States, seamen may institute and prosecute suits and appeals in their own names and for their own benefit for wages or salvage or the enforcement of laws enacted for their health or safety without prepaying fees or costs or furnishing security therefore.”
3. Defendant(s), at all times material hereto, personally or through an agent:

a. Operated, conducted, engaged in or carried on a business venture in this state and/or county or had an office or agency in this state and/or county;

1.
a. Were engaged in substantial activity within this state;
b. Operated vessels in the waters of this state;
c. Committed one or more of the acts stated in Florida Statutes, Sections 48.081, 48.181 or 48.193;
d. The acts of Defendant(s) set out in this Complaint occurred in whole or in part in this county and/or state.

2. Defendant(s) are subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of this state. Defendant Regent Seven Seas Cruises Inc. has its principal place of business in Florida.
3. The causes of action asserted in this Complaint arise under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. Section 30104, and the General Maritime Law of the United States.
4. At all time material hereto, Defendant(s) owned, operated, managed, maintained and/or controlled the vessel Seven Seas Mariner. This vessel was registered in a flag of convenience country. The vessel operates as a cruise ship. Defendant XYZ Corporation is included in an abundance of caution should the owner or operator of said vessel not be one of the two named defendants.
5. At all times material hereto, Plaintiff was employed as a musician aboard Defendant(s)’ vessel. The vessel was in navigable waters.
6. On or about May 4, 2008, Plaintiff was injured when he slipped and fell on a wet surface while working aboard the Seven Seas Mariner.

COUNT I
JONES ACT NEGLIGENCE

Plaintiff realleges, incorporates by reference, and adopts paragraphs one through eight as though they were originally alleged herein.

1. It was the duty of Defendant(s) to provide Plaintiff with a reasonably safe place to work.
2. On or about the above referenced date(s), Plaintiff was injured while aboard the vessel as a result of the fault and negligence of Defendant(s), and/or its agents, servants, and/or employees as follows:
a. Failure to use reasonable care to provide and maintain proper and adequate machinery, crew and equipment;
b. Failure to use reasonable care to provide Plaintiff a reasonably safe place to work;
c. Failure to promulgate and enforce reasonable rules and regulations to insure the safety and health of the employees and more particularly the Plaintiff, while engaged in the course of his employment on Defendant(s)’ vessel.
d. Failure to use reasonable care to provide Plaintiff a reasonably safe place to work due to: 1) Failure to keep the area wherein the Plaintiff slipped and fell in a clean and dry condition, and/or; 2) Failure to warn the Plaintiff that the area wherein he slipped and fell was wet prior to the Plaintiff having his accident, and/or 3) Failure to have an adequate walking surface in the area wherein the Plaintiff suffered his accident, and/or 4) Failure to close off the area wherein the Plaintiff had his accident until it could be dried and cleaned up to the point of being reasonably safe to traverse again; and/or 5) failure to properly inspect and/or maintain the subject area in order to prevent incidents such as the Plaintiffs; all of which resulted in the Plaintiff suffering injury.
e. Failure to provide adequate instruction and supervision to crew members and Plaintiff;
f. Failure to provide prompt, proper, and adequate medical care to the Plaintiff which aggravated Plaintiff’s injuries and caused him additional pain and disability;
g. Failure to provide Plaintiff and other crew members who are associated with Plaintiff or Plaintiff’s incident giving rise to this action, reasonable hours of employment so as to not overwork them to the point of not being physically fit to carry out their duties. Defendant(s)’ employees are overworked to the point of fatigue.
h. Failure to properly train workers and the use of undersized crew.
i. Seamen’s work may take place at all hours and weather conditions, in isolated locations that lack the site safety precautions available to workers in other industries;
j. Failure to ascertain the cause of similar accidents/incidents so as to take measures to prevent their re-occurrence, and more particularly Plaintiff’s accident;
k. Failure to follow sound management practices with the goal of providing Plaintiff a reasonably safe place to work.
l. Prior to Plaintiff’s accident Defendant(s) failed to investigate the hazards to Plaintiff and then take the necessary steps to eliminate the hazards, minimize or warn Plaintiff of the danger from the hazard.
m. Defendant(s) failed to select and utilize competent, skilled and properly trained medical care providers with proper and adequate medical equipment with respect to the Plaintiff’s medical care.
n. Defendant(s) failed to provide Plaintiff with enough sleeping time so as to cause Plaintiff and other crew members on the vessel the same physical and mental impairments as being drunk. These types of impairments have been documented in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; 57:649-655 (October 2000).
o. Defendant(s) failed to properly medically manage Plaintiff’s medical care after Plaintiff was injured.
p. At all times material hereto, Defendant(s) negligently failed to determine the hazards on the vessel to Plaintiff, failed to eliminate the hazard, failed to modify the hazard and failed to properly warn Plaintiff of the hazard. In addition, Defendant(s) violated the International Safety Management Code and failed to have a proper, adequate and safe Safety Management System Manual. All of the above caused the Plaintiff to be injured.

3. Defendant(s) knew of the foregoing conditions causing Plaintiff’s accident and did not correct them, or the conditions existed for a sufficient length of time so that Defendant(s) in the exercise of reasonable care should have learned of them and corrected them.
4. As a result of the negligence of Defendant(s), Plaintiff was injured about Plaintiff’s body and extremities, suffered physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, reasonable fear of developing future physical and medical problems, loss of enjoyment of life, physical disability, impairment, inconvenience on the normal pursuits and pleasures of life, feelings of economic insecurity caused by disability, disfigurement, aggravation of any previously existing conditions therefrom, incurred medical expenses in the care and treatment of Plaintiff’s injuries, suffered physical handicap, lost wages, income lost in the past, and his working ability and earning capacity has been impaired. The injuries and damages are permanent or continuing in nature, and Plaintiff will suffer the losses and impairments in the future. In addition, Plaintiff in the past and in the future has lost the fringe benefits that come with Plaintiff’s job, including but not limited to found, free food, free shelter, free medical care, free uniforms, vacation, and free air line ticket home and back.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands all damages entitled by law and demands jury trial of all issues so triable.
COUNT II
UNSEAWORTHINESS

Plaintiff realleges, incorporates by reference, and adopts paragraphs one through eight as though they were originally alleged herein.

1. On or about the previously stated date, Plaintiff was a seaman and a member of the crew of Defendant(s) vessel, which was in navigable waters.
2. At all times material hereto, the vessel was owned, managed, operated and/or controlled by Defendant(s).
3. Defendant(s) had the absolute nondelegable duty to provide Plaintiff with a seaworthy vessel.
4. On or about the previously stated date the unseaworthiness of Defendant(s)’ vessel was a cause of injury and damage to Plaintiff by reason of the following:

a. %; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; tab-stops: list 1.0in;”>1) Failure to keep the area wherein the Plaintiff slipped and fell in a clean and dry condition, and/or; 2) Failure to warn the Plaintiff that the area wherein he slipped and fell was wet prior to the Plaintiff having his accident, and/or 3) Failure to have an adequate walking surface in the area wherein the Plaintiff suffered his accident, and/or 4) Failure to close off the area wherein the Plaintiff had his accident until it could be dried and cleaned up to the point of being reasonably safe to traverse again; and/or 5) failure to properly inspect and/or maintain the subject area in order to prevent incidents such as the Plaintiffs; all of which resulted in the Plaintiff suffering injury.
b. The vessel was not reasonably fit for its intended purpose;
c. The vessel’s crew was not properly trained, instructed or supervised;
d. The vessel did not have a fit crew;
e. The crew and Plaintiff were overworked to the point of being exhausted and not physically fit to carry out their duties.

5. As a result of the unseaworthiness of the vessel, Plaintiff was injured about Plaintiff’s body and extremities, suffered physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, reasonable fear of developing future physical and medical problems, loss of enjoyment of life, physical disability, impairment, inconvenience on the normal pursuits and pleasures of life, feelings of economic insecurity caused by disability, disfigurement, aggravation of any previously existing conditions therefrom, incurred medical expenses in the care and treatment of Plaintiff’s injuries, suffered physical handicap, lost wages, income lost in the past, and his working ability and earning capacity has been impaired. The injuries and damages are permanent or continuing in nature, and Plaintiff will suffer the losses and impairments in the future. In addition, Plaintiff in the past and in the future has lost the fringe benefits that come with Plaintiff’s job, including but not limited to found, free food, free shelter, free medical care, free uniforms, vacation, and free air line ticket home and back.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands all damages entitled by law and demands jury trial of all issues so triable.

COUNT III
FAILURE TO PROVIDE MAINTENANCE AND CURE

Plaintiff realleges, incorporates by reference, and adopts paragraphs one through eight as though they were originally alleged herein.

1. On or about the previously stated date, Plaintiff, while in the service of the vessel as a crew member, was injured.
2. Under the General Maritime Law, Plaintiff, as a seaman, is entitled to recover maintenance and cure from Defendant(s), until he is declared to have reached maximum possible cure. This includes unearned wages (regular wages, overtime, vacation pay and tips), which are reasonably anticipated to the end of the contract or voyage which ever is longer.
3. Defendant(s) willfully and callously delayed, failed and refused to pay Plaintiff’s entire maintenance and cure so that Plaintiff has become obligated to pay the undersigned a reasonable attorney’s fee.
4. Defendant(s)’ failure to pay Plaintiff’s entire maintenance and cure is willful, arbitrary, capricious and in callous disregard for Plaintiff’s right as a seaman. As such, Plaintiff would be entitled to attorney’s fees under the General Maritime Law of the United States. Further Defendant(s) unreasonably failed to pay or provide Plaintiff with maintenance and cure which aggravated his condition and caused Plaintiff to suffer additional compensatory damages including but not limited to the aggravation of Plaintiff’s physical condition, disability, pain and suffering, reasonable fear of developing future physical and medical problems, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, feelings of economic insecurity as well as lost earning capacity, and medical and hospital expenses in the past and into the future.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands all damages entitled by law, attorneys fees and demands trial of all issues so triable.

COUNT IV
FAILURE TO TREAT

Plaintiff realleges, incorporates by reference, and adopts paragraphs one through eight as though they were originally alleged herein.

1. On or about the previously stated date, Plaintiff was employed by Defendant(s) as a seaman and was a member of the vessel’s crew. The vessel was in navigable waters.
2. It was the duty of Defendant(s) to provide Plaintiff with prompt, proper and adequate medical care.
3. Defendant(s) through the ship’s physician and nurses negligently failed to promptly provide Plaintiff with prompt, proper, adequate, and complete medical care. This conduct includes, but is not limited to, Defendant(s) sending Plaintiff back to work on pain killers after he became injured which aggravated his injuries and made them worse.
4. As a direct and proximate result of Defendant(s)’ failure, Plaintiff suffered additional pain, disability and/or Plaintiff recovery was prolonged. In addition, Plaintiff was injured about Plaintiff’s body and extremities, suffered physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, reasonable fear of developing future physical and medical problems, loss of enjoyment of life, physical disability, impairment, inconvenience on the normal pursuits and pleasures of life, feelings of economic insecurity caused by disability, disfigurement, aggravation of any previously existing conditions therefrom, incurred medical expenses in the care and treatment of Plaintiff’s injuries, suffered physical handicap, lost wages, income lost in the past, and his working ability and earning capacity has been impaired. The injuries and damages are permanent or continuing in nature, and Plaintiff will suffer the losses and impairments in the future.
5. This Count is alleged separately from Jones Act Negligence pursuant to Joyce v. Atlantic Richfield Company, 615 F. 2d 676 (10th Cir. 1981) which states, in part, “Negligent failure to provide prompt medical attention to a seriously injured seaman gives rise to a separate claim for relief [for which separate damages are awardable].”

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands all damages entitled by law and demands jury trial of all issues so triable.

LIPCON, MARGULIES, ALSINA & WINKLEMAN, P.A.
One Biscayne Tower, Suite 1776
2 South Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33131
TEL: 305-373-3016
FAX: 305-373-6204

By: s/ Michael Winkleman
MICHAEL A. WINKLEMAN
FL BAR NO. 36719