High Court's Seaman Injury Decision A Boon For Shipowners

By Y. Peter Kang (June 25, 2019, 10:06 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that an injured merchant seaman can't seek punitive damages based on the common-law maritime claim of unseaworthiness is a big win for shipowners, attorneys said, as it removes the uncertainty of punitive damages that many plaintiffs used as a bargaining chip during settlement negotiations.

By a 6-3 vote, the high court on Monday rejected Christopher Batterton's claim for punitive damages from the Dutra Group over an injury he suffered while working as a deckhand on one of its boats. According to Batterton's claim, the ship lacked an exhaust mechanism, causing a dangerous buildup of air...

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