October 13, 2014

Who is a Jones Act Seaman

Jones Act seaman status can be a pivotal issue in any lawsuit
involving injury in the maritime industry.

This fundamental legal issue is at the heart of a lawsuit
involving a maritime worker who sustained respiratory illness
while working as a boat captain for the Association of
Maryland Pilots. His job involved operating a boat used to take
marine pilots out to large vessels, so that the pilots could
guide them in navigating. His duties also involved maintenance
of the boat, including a project involving sandblasting the
bottom of the boat. After contracting silicosis, a respiratory
illness, he sued the employer. In the eyes of the law, is this
person a Jones Act seaman? This question was posed to the
United States Supreme Court. The case, captioned as
Dize v.
Association of Maryland Pilots
, was heard previously
adjudicated by the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. To
read the full text for the appeals court's decision, click
html .

The Supreme Court did not accept the case, denying the
petition for certiorari on October 6, 2014. In general, federal
and state courts follow the legal precedent set by
Inc. v. Latsis in determining whether someone satisfies Jones
Act seaman status. This seminal case applies the
thirty-percent rule, where the plaintiff employee must spend
thirty percent or more of his or her time in the service of a
vessel in navigation. Federal Circuit and District Courts in the
Third, Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth Circuits have held that time spent
in the service of the vessel in navigation that is moored,
dockside, or ashore can be used to compute time for
satisfying this thirty percent rule in maritime law - Supreme
Court of the United States blog. Also in concurrence with them
are the Eleventh Circuit and Maryland Court of Appeals.

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