Seaman with SeaRiver Maritime Awarded $8M for Cancer Caused by Exposure to Hydrocarbons

Mack Shelby, now 57, has been a seaman for SeaRiver Maritime since 1987. He developed cancer, he alleged in a lawsuit, from over-exposure to airborne hydrocarbons, including Benzene, aboard ship.

Mr. Shelby sued the company for violation of the Jones Act, alleging negligence in failing to provide a safe place to work, failure to provide proper respiratory protection, failure to provide proper instruction and warnings of the risk of exposure, and failure to provide proper medical monitoring.

Mr. Shelby had been diagnosed with cancer of the right kidney, and it was surgically removed in August 2003. He has been cancer-free for five years, but will require annual checkups in the future. He sought $1,125,000 for past pain and suffering, $6,525,000 for future pain and suffering, and $350,000 for his future lost earnings.

The company argued that Mr. Shelby had planned to return to work and was medically fit to do so, so there was no loss of income or evidence that Shelby currently suffers from any pain or medical issues. Nevertheless, the jury returned an $8 million verdict for Mr. Shelby, finding that SeaRiver Maritime failed to provide a safe work place and that its vessels were unseaworthy. They awarded him $350,000 in personal injury, $1,125,000 for past pain and suffering, and over $6.5 million for future pain and suffering.

Do you, or does a loved one, suffer with a condition caused by work-related negligence? You don’t have to suffer without compensation if you’ve had to work in an unsafe environment. Call the Law Offices of Michael L. Neff today.