[B]Case Name: [/B]Marin Dumitrescu v. General Maritime Management Inc. and General Maritime Corporation
[B]Date Decided: [/B]December 15, 2009
[B]Court: [/B]U.S.D.C. S.D. New York
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge Crotty
[B]Citation: [/B]2009 WL 4823945 (S.D.N.Y.) [B]Background:
[/B]Before this Court was a motion by defendant, General Maritime Management, to disregard a jury verdict in favor of Marin Dumitrescu or alternatively, for a new trial. Marin was awarded $790,000 by a jury in a Jones Act claim he brought against General Maritime for injuries sustained while working as a seaman aboard General’s vessel.
Marin was 50 years of age and worked aboard General’s vessel. Marin had a pre-employment physical examination and was found fit for duty and was assigned the task of fabricating a winch cover with another fitter.
The two mean had to turn the winch cover over to work on the opposite side, while doing so, the partially completed winch cover slipped. Marin pulled back to prevent it from falling him and claimed to sustain a substantial back injury as a result.
Following a Jones Act claim a jury awarded Marin $790,000 for lost wages, past pain and suffering, and future pain and suffering.
Following the award, General ruled for a judgment as a matter of law or a new trial arguing that Marin failed to present sufficient evidence that supported the jury’s verdict.
[/B]Did the plaintiff submit sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict?
[/B]General first challenged the jury’s finding of Jones Act negligence.
This Court found there was ample support for all the elements of Jones Act Negligence. Marin testified that while he was lifting the winch cover he felt cracks in his spine and pain shooting through his body. Moreover, Marin testified that before lifting the winch cover, he complained to the ship’s chief engineer that his assignment to secure a winch cover was dangerous because the covers were large, heavy, and the ship did not have lifting equipment.
Marin’s complaints put General on notice of the dangerous condition. The chief engineer, according to Marin’s testimony, threatened to drop him off at the nearest port if he refused to secure the winch cover.
The vessel’s captain testified that the engineer’s response violated the International Safety Management Code, which applied to the vessel. Moreover, the Captain testified that Marin’s accident was foreseeable and resulted from General’s negligence.
This Court ultimately found that because Marin established sufficient evidence in his favor and General Maritime failed to provide sufficient countering evidence that the jury verdict was reasonable and that General was not entitled to a new trial.
A judgment as a matter of law may be granted contrary to the jury’s verdict. It may be granted [I]only where /I there is such a complete absence of evidence supporting the verdict that the jury’s finding could only have been the result of sheer surmise or conjecture or (2) there is such an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of the movant that reasonable and fair-minded people could not arrive at a verdict against the movant.[/B]
[B]Steve Gordon [/B]