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Frederick Baer Goldsmith

Frederick Goldsmith’s Answers

4 total

  • My mother had a stroke during the first week of a month long cruise. . The Dr. aboard said it was probably just a flu.

    My parents stayed the rest of the trip on board the ship. Back at home port she was taken directly to the hospital by ambulance. My dad and emt told me about how she was feeling numbness on one side of her body, confusion, nausea. I'm no Dr. but t...

    Frederick’s Answer

    I generally agree with Mr. Richard's above answer and his excellent citation to the recently-decided U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Franza case. There are actually some parallels between the facts you describe and those in the Franza case.

    Here's a law school blog post on the case: http://www.loyolacurrent.com/2014/11/14/11th-circuit-lowers-shield-immunity-negligence-cruise-ships-medical-crew.

    So, yes, contact an experienced maritime lawyer so he or she can review with you the facts of your potential case in greater detail and better advise you on how you may wish to proceed.

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  • Cruise line refund

    My fiance and I purchased a cruise that had a stated itinerary. We purchased two rooms. One for ourselves and the other for her son and one of her friends. The itinerary stated that we would be stopping in Catalina on the first day where all of...

    Frederick’s Answer

    1. Contact a lawyer licensed where you live.
    2. Look for one experienced in admiralty or maritime law.
    3. Yes, look at your cruise contract. These usually specify where and by when you must file any claim or lawsuit. They also often state (a) what refund you're entitled to based on when you seek it pre-cruise and (b) the carrier's right to modify the itinerary without recourse. For instance, Costa Cruise Line's cruise contract states as to itinerary changes:

    14. MODIFICATION OF ITINERARY OR CANCELLATION OF VOYAGE a) The Carrier may for any reason whatsoever, including without limitation adverse weather, perils of the sea, strikes ashore or onboard the Vessel, war, hostilities or the perceived threat thereof, at any time, with or without prior notice, cancel, delay, or advance any sailing or add, delete or alter any or all ports of call during the voyage itinerary, including ports of embarkation and disembarkation, or substitute another vessel, and the Carrier shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever arising from or relating to such cancellation, deviation, delay, substitution or modifications.

    + + +

    Nevertheless, sometimes a nice approach to the carrier with your special circumstances may cause it to cut you a break. But, from a pure legal, breach of contract perspective, if your contract looks like Costa's, you likely have a hard-to-win case. But, again, ask a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for his or her analysis. Maybe they can help you.

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  • I am a longshoreman and was injured twice and reported the injuries, these occurred on the cruise ship that was docked.

    Although, my injuries are part of the official record, would this be considered a jones act claim?

    Frederick’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Whether you can be considered a Jones Act seaman and thus entitled to the legal claims available to seamen depends on the answers to the following two-part test, which I've excerpted from a recent court decision:

    "First, ... an employee's duties must contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission....

    Second, ... a seaman must have a connection to a vessel in navigation (or to an identifiable group of such vessels) that is substantial in terms of both its duration and its nature. To satisfy the first prong of the Chandris test, the claimant need only show that he/she “do[es] the ship's work.” As the Court observed, this threshold requirement is “very broad.”

    The second prong of the Chandris test is intended “to separate the sea-based maritime employees who are entitled to Jones Act protection from those land-based workers who have only a transitory or sporadic connection to a vessel in navigation.” As the Court explained...'the total circumstances of an individual's employment must be weighed to determine whether he had a sufficient relation to the navigation of the vessels and the perils attendant thereon. The duration of the worker's connection to a vessel and the nature of the worker's activities taken together, determine whether a maritime employee is a seaman because the ultimate inquiry is whether the worker in question is a member of the vessel's crew or simply a land-based employee who happens to be working on the vessel at a given time.'"

    In general terms, to be a Jones Act seaman, you must be a regular crewman of a particular vessel or an identifiable fleet of vessels. Courts usually say you must spend at least 30% of your working time aboard a vessel (or identifiable fleet of vessels) which are "in navigation" (as opposed to one which has been removed from navigation, such as one in drydock and undergoing major repairs), as a crewmember, to be considered a "seaman."

    Even if it turns out that you are not a seaman, as a longshoreman you may have a claim under Section 905(b) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act for vessel negligence. Also, if you are deemed a longshoreman, you would have a workers comp type claim against your employer, under which it would have to pay for your medical care and a portion of the wages you are unable to earn due to your injuries, if applicable.

    I recommend you contact a lawyer licensed in your state for assistance sorting all this out. If you need help finding such a lawyer, feel free to call us. We know well-regarded maritime lawyers throughout the country.

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  • Is a lift boat, used within the US 3 mile limit, considered in maritime law, a "vessel" or a "tool" under the Jones Act?

    I have been advised that the oil industry employs non ABS lift boats because they are not considered under the maritime law as "commercial carriers of goods or people between US ports", thus are considered as "work tool", not a qualifing vesel und...

    Frederick’s Answer

    The question you pose implicates different "Jones Act" issues than involved in the seaman's personal statute of the same name, specifically the cabotage provisions of federal statutory and regulatory law. The U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center is usually the first arbiter of disputes such as this and it has issued rulings which may bear on the issue raised. At first glance there may be a violation of the US-crewed and built requirement for service in the US coastwise trade. I'd need more facts though to properly analyze.

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