LHWCA Settlement Unenforceable

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 26, 2004

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a written settlement agreement involving a claim under the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is unenforceable unless actually signed by claimant. In the instant case, plaintiff’s decedent had filed a claim under the LHWCA. His attorney reached a settlement with the employer’s attorney, which was reduced to writing. Plaintiff’s decedent reviewed the document and approved it, but died before actually signing it. Plaintiff signed the settlement agreement as the representative of decedent’s estate. The court held that enforcement of a LHWCA settlement agreement depends on submission of a document containing the settlement information and the signatures of the actual parties. O’Neil v. Bunge Corp., No. 02-71248 (9th Cir.) - HK Law.
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