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Supreme Court Decision on Maintenance & Cure - Punitive Damages
Ocean Mariners - Commercial Fishermen - Tugboats - Sailboats - Yacht Crews - Riverboats - Divers - Jones Act
Atlantic Towing v Townsend
June 25, 2009

The Supreme Court of the United States held that punitive damages can be awarded to a
plaintiff as a remedy when the vessel owner has demonstrated a willful and wanton
disregard of the maintenance and cure obligation. The case was heard on Writ of Certiorari
to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The case is about a crew
member of a tugboat who fell on the steel deck and injured his arm and shoulder. He
claimed that the owner of the tugboat would not pay maintenance and cure. Maintenance is
paid to an injured seaman to cover living expenses and cure is to cover hospital and
medical expenses.

here to read the decision in PDF format. Depending on your computer and internet
connection, the file could take a few moments to open. Thank you for your patience.

Return to the
Maritime Law page.