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My Best Advice
When it comes to Longshore Act Cases, nothing is more important than telling the truth. Nothing is more important than your credibility. You need to be up front and honest about every detail about your case.
Do not exaggerate the fine print. If a judge suspects your not being truthful, then they will dismiss your case. Always be honest. Always tell the truth.
My Second Best Advice
Do your research on Longshore Act Cases and order my free book, Win Your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S. Guide To Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case [even before you hire a lawyer].
It is full of helpful and useful information when it comes to your Longshore Act Case.
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Vincent Riggo and Maher Terminals: A Lonsghore Claim Denied By A Risk Manager
Let me tell you about Vincent Riggo...
Vincent Riggo worked for Maher Terminals. Vincent‘s arm was injured when he fell off a chair while working in the office of Berth 62 of Maher's port facilities in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Vincent split his time evenly between work as a checker and as a delivery clerk for Maher.2 However, on the day he was injured he was working as a delivery clerk for Maher Terminals. Vincent was a member of the local checker’s union. When he worked as a checker he was in the shipping lanes. As a delivery clerk, he worked in an office. However, in both jobs, Vincent’s handled paperwork for the in-coming and out-going cargo.
Maher Terminal took the position that Vincent walked in and out of coverage for Longshore benefits. Meaning, when he worked for Maher Terminals as a checker he was covered by the Longshore Act and when he worked in the office, he was not covered by the Longshore Act.
Most of you probably know that I represent Longshoreman from all over the country. And most of you know that we represent a lot of Longshoreman from Oakland to San Diego. I have been handling Longshore claims since 1987. I can’t tell you how wrong I think Maher Terminal’s position was in Vincent’s case.
But Maher Terminal’s Rick Management Department - like all Longshore employers - job is to deny claims. So, Maher Terminals denied Vincent’s Longshore claim. In Vincent’s case, even Maher Terminals couldn’t deny that spent part of his time working for Maher Terminals in in indisputably longshoring operations.
My take is that the proper analysis requires Maher Terminals to look at the regular portion of the overall tasks to which a worker could have been assigned as a matter of course. Importantly, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agrees with my take. The Third Circuit ruled that Vincent’s injury was, in fact, a covered injury under the Longshore Act. The Court found that because Vincent spent half of his time as a checker and his overall duties included assignment as a checker, an indisputably longshoring job, he is covered under the Act even though he worked as a delivery clerk on the day of his injury.
I bring up Vincent Riggo’s Longshore case against Maher Terminals because the new United States Department of Labor Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DLHWC) Branch Chief of Financial Management, Insurance and Assessment Richard Stanton was the attorney for Maher Terminals in Vincent’s case. Mr Stanton - to my understanding - was the former head of Risk Management for Maher Terminals. In other words, Mr. Stanton’s job was to deny Longshore claims. Just like he denied Vincent’s claim.
Once again, it certainly seemed like we have an industry person having a key job at the United States Department of Labor Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation. Once again, I had to ask, is a wolf watching the Longshoreman hen house?
And then I realized I may have jumped the gun on Mr. Stanton. As my friend John says, "It takes a big man to admit he is wrong." (Or a big woman). Again, I may have jumped the gun on Mr. Stanton.
It is true that Mr. Stanton works for Maher Terminals. However, Mr. Stanton seems to have represented Longshoremen in the past also. So - even though I wrote this post - I may be corrected. Perhaps Mr. Stanton might not be the big bad wolf. I know, he worked for Maher Terminals. But, check out this decision: Here is the BRB case James Barbara v. Global Terminal where Mr. Stanton represented a Longshoreman.
Here is where the Third Circuit agreed with Mr. Stanton's position. Maybe Mr. Stanton is not the big bad wold after all. After all, it seems like he has represented at least one Longshoreman before.
In fairness, I also want to mention that I know Eric Richardson, Branch Chief of Policy, Regulations and Procedures at the United States Department of Labor Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation. Eric is a good man. Eric is fair.
Finally, I also want to say that I don’t know Mr. Stanton. He might be the pefect person for his new job at the United States Department of Labor Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation. I am keeping an open mind. I certainly want to be fair to him.
Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley