Maintenance and the collective bargaining agreement

Tuesday, September 02, 2003
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that maintenance for an injured seaman should be paid at the rate specified in the collective bargaining agreement and that awards for future wages and future medical expenses should be discounted to present value. In the instant case, plaintiff seaman was injured while serving on defendant's ship. The trial court awarded maintenance based on plaintiff's approximate expenses, rather than the amount provided for in the applicable collective bargaining agreement and did not discount the award for future expenses because the collective bargaining agreement did not address the issue. On appeal, the court held that maintenance is only one item in a package of benefits negotiated by the union and the employer and approved by the union members. The court should be reluctant to second-guess the positions adopted by the parties in allocation of the total benefit package. Further, the court held that awards for future damages must be discounted to account for the present value of money intended for future use. Ammar v. United States >, No. 02-6047 (2nd Cir., August 29, 2003). (Source: HK Law)

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