Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Changes to maritime laws motivated by politics, lawyer says

Since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April, some groups, including trial lawyers, see the incident as an opportunity to make changes to the federal statutes that cover injuries and deaths in the maritime industry. However many business interests see the changes as unnecessary and fear the proposals would open the flood gates to needless litigation that will cripple the maritime industry and destroy jobs. Mark Freeman, a maritime defense attorney with Baldo Stevens Freeman & Lighty in Beaumont, thinks the push for change is not necessarily motivated by a desire to help families. "It is a political reaction to the BP issue," Freeman said in a telephone interview. "An environmental event is being used to change not only the Jones Act, but other marine statutes and ship owners' liability as well." By a voice vote in early July, the House of Representatives approved the Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability Act. The SPILL Act amended the decades-old Death on the High Seas Act, the Jones Act and the Limitation of Liability Act. The changes would allow families of the deceased oil workers to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of care, comfort and companionship. The change would also apply to passengers of ships on the high seas, including cruise lines.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Critics call Valdez cleanup a warning for Gulf workers - Workers getting sick - Flu like symptoms and illness

Anchorage, Alaska (CNN) -- Two decades ago, Roy Dalthorp helped clean up the rocky shores of Prince William Sound after the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, producing what was then the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Today, with that record surpassed by the 11-week-old disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Dalthorp struggles to breathe. He coughs, and his failing eyes sometimes tear up uncontrollably. Dalthorp told CNN that he was "slowly poisoned" during the Alaska cleanup effort -- and he says some of those now working to clean up the BP spill off Louisiana and neighboring states are risking the same fate.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

7 year old driving boat kills his mother in accident

The Virginia Marine Police will ask the Hampton commonwealth's attorney to determine whether any charges should be filed in a boating accident that killed a 35-year-old woman Sunday. The motorboat was being driven by the woman's 7-year-old son when it struck a pier and threw her into the windshield and then off the back of the boat. Elizabeth J. Elliott of Hampton was taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center, where she died. The five passengers on board were headed home on the Hampton River about 6:15 p.m. when an adult briefly let the 7-year-old steer, said John Bull, a marine police spokesman.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Coast Guard probes death of two found on boat

PONCE INLET -- The Coast Guard, along with Volusia County Beach Patrol, are investigating the death of a man and woman found dead on a boat Sunday morning. Coast Guard officials told FLORIDA TODAY Local 6 someone found the couple in medical distress on a Cuddy Cabin-style boat that was anchored near Disappearing Island in the Intracoastal waterway at Ponce Inlet. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified the couple as Howard and Sandra Lynn Lupton, of Palatka. Officials told Local 6 the Luptons likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning on the boat. The Luptons were sleeping on the boat when they were poisoned, police said. Disappearing Island is a popular recreation spot that forms from sandbars when the tide goes out. Over Memorial Day weekend, Madison Holly, her unborn child, and her father, were killed in the same area in a boating accident. n