New Jersey Verdicts

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Longshoreman argued he was hurt when ship’s deck gave way

Amount:

$2,800,000

Type:

Settlement

State:

New Jersey

Venue:

Hudson County

Court:

Hudson County Superior Court

Injury Type(s):

back back-fusion, lumbar;
back-herniated disc (herniated disc at L5-S1);
other-pins/rods/screws; surgeries/treatment-laminectomy (laminectomy, lumbar)

Case Type:

Slips, Trips & Falls – Falldown; Admiralty/Maritime – Boating Accidents; Premises Liability – Dangerous Condition, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance; Admiralty/Maritime – Longshore and Harborworker’s Compensation Act

Case Name:

James Jordan v. Evergreen Marine Singapore PTE, Evergreen Marine Corporation, Evergreen Shipping Agency America, Evergreen Line, and The MV Evergreen Decent,
No. HUD-L-1255-13

Date:

March 17, 2015

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

James Jordan (Male, 42 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Richard M. Winograd;
Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP;
Newark,
NJ,
for
James Jordan

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Thomas Cocchiola; P.E.; Mechanical; Caldwell,
NJ called by:
Richard M. Winograd

Defendant(s):

Evergreen Line, 

Evergreen Marine Corp., 

The MV Evergreen Decent, 

Evergreen Marine Singapore PTE, 

Evergreen Shipping Agency America

Defense Attorney(s):

Paul M. Keane;
Cichanowicz, Callan, Keane, Vengrow & Textor, LLP;
New York,
NY,
for
Evergreen Line, Evergreen Marine Corp., The MV Evergreen Decent, Evergreen Marine Singapore PTE, Evergreen Shipping Agency America

Defendant Expert(s):

Richard Hodosh;
Neurosurgery;
Summit,
NJ called by:
Paul M. Keane

Insurer(s):

Gard P & I Club for Evergreen Marine Singapore PTE

Facts:

On June 8, 2012, James Jordan, 42, a longshoreman, was inspecting the container ship MV Ever Decent at Port of Elizabeth. Jordan, who was employed by Maher Terminals, LLC, in Elizabeth, stated that he was leaving the vessel when he stepped on an area of the deck that gave way, sinking six inches. His left foot sank into the collapsed deck and he started falling forward. He tried to catch himself, then fell backward, and his lower back struck a part of the ship and he landed in a sitting position. He claimed he injured his lower back. Jordan sued Evergreen Marine Singapore PTE, the Singapore-based owner and operator of the vessel, and its related entities, Evergreen Marine Corp., Evergreen Shipping Agency America, Evergreen Line, and The MV Evergreen Decent, under Section 905B of the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. (All defendants except Evergreen Marine Singapore PTE were dismissed prior to trial.) He alleged that the deck was negligently maintained, creating a dangerous condition which caused his accident and injuries. Specifically, he maintained, with support from an expert on mechanical engineering, that a metal bracket under the deck had collapsed, because it was rusted, and this condition would have been observed and repaired if proper inspections were performed. The expert opined that a piece of the metal had a failure pattern which indicated it was gradually failing, creating a dangerous condition. Evergreen Marine Singapore PTE denied negligence, arguing that any condition leading to the collapse was latent and would not have been discovered by reasonable inspections.

Injury:

After the accident, Jordan was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room, where he complained of low-back pain. X-rays were taken and he was discharged with instructions to follow up with an orthopedist. He was ultimately diagnosed with a herniated intervertebral disc at L5-S1 and underwent a laminectomy and fusion surgery, with screws and rods installed. Jordan, who earned $150,000 annually, sought damages for lost income and pain and suffering. He claimed he was unable to return to work due to permanent limitations performing activities of daily living. Moreover, he stated that he had been an avid motorcyclist before the accident and could no longer ride his motorcycle. The defense’s expert neurosurgeon noted that Jordan had already suffered from foot-drop, which may have caused him to lose balance and fall. He also opined that Jordan had not sustained an injury in the fall, and his spinal condition was the result of wear and tear from 20 years as a longshoreman. He further noted that Jordan had been intending to retire anyway, because of a host of pre-existing health problems, including his foot-drop, morbid obesity, and injuries to both knees.

Result:

During the eighth day of trial, the case was settled with Evergreen Marine Singapore PTE’s insurance carrier agreeing to pay Jordan $2.8 million.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Patrick Arre

Trial Length:

8
 days

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.