Occupational Safety & Health Reporter℠

Supreme Court Rejects Punitive Damages for Injured Sailors (Corrected)

June 24, 2019, 2:24 PMUpdated: June 24, 2019, 10:05 PM

Sailors injured aboard unseaworthy ships can’t seek punitive damages from shipowners, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 24.

The 6-3 decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, resolves varying interpretations of a federal law covering maritime issues, the Jones Act. The case involved a sailor whose hand was badly hurt by a hatch door that blew open.

Tom Allegretti, president of The American Waterways Operators in Arlington, Va., representing U.S.-flagged tugboat and barge companies, said the decision affirms Congress’ intent to establish a uniform framework of rights and remedies for employers and injured mariners.

“Every American business needs regulatory certainty...

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