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The March 2014 issue of Professional Mariner contains a story about a multi-million dollar judgment assessed by a federal judge against Moran Towing, due to the death of one of the company's deckhands.

In reading this story, I immediately recognized how the judge's findings about how Moran Towing was negligent are very similar to how I see Moran Towing was negligent in a maritime injury case we are handling against this same company.

We represent a barge cleaner who was working aboard the barge Montville as it was docked in the Port of Corpus Christi.  Moran's barge superintendent operated a large gantry crane and caused it to strike, crush and drag the barge cleaner along the deck of the barge, causing catastrophic lifetime injuries.  That lawsuit is pending in federal court in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Judge in the tugboat death case notes the following ways in which Moran Towing was negligent, and I see all of these same issues in our case:

  • Negligence of Moran's crewmember;
  • Moran failed to write out "procedures or risk analysis";
  • Moran provided "no written instruction";
  • "Moran did not employ a job hazard assessment";

Unfortunately, it seems that this type of negligent conduct is a pattern for Moran Towing.  Maybe it will take more multi-million dollar verdicts against the company before it learns its lesson?

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