Exclusive Remedy for Crewman injured on Public Vessel

Monday, April 10, 2006
In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the exclusive remedy for a crewman injured on a public vessel is against the federal government. In the instant case, plaintiff seaman was injured while cleaning gun barrels onboard a public vessel that was operated by a contract company. After waiting more than two years to file suit (thus overrunning the statute of limitations under the Public Vessels Act), plaintiff brought suit against the contract company. Plaintiff asserted that he should be allowed to proceed with his action because the remedy that he might have had against the government no longer existed due to the statute of limitations. The court held that, where the Public Vessels Act provided a remedy, there is no right to bring an action against the agent of the United States. Len v. American Overseas Marine Corp., No. 05-30662 Source: HK Law

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