Baldwin Haspel Burke & Mayer LLC

Maritime Update: The McCorpen Defense, Properly Investigated, Precludes Punitive Damages Claim

Bill Schwartz - 

Judge Martin Feldman, in the case of Alliance Marine Services, LP v. Gary Youman, decided in December 2018, found this was a classic McCorpen defense situation where the employer required a seaman to submit to a pre-hiring medical examination/interview wherein the seaman intentionally misrepresented or concealed material medical facts, the disclosure of which was plainly desired. The Judge also determined there was a causal link between the pre-existing disabilities (mental and lower back) that were concealed and the claimed disabilities incurred during the voyage. Judge Feldman granted the McCorpen motion, ending the employer’s maintenance and cure obligation. Further, the claim for punitive damages for failure to pay maintenance and cure was also dismissed. The court noted the employer properly denied such maintenance and cure benefits when it relied upon a timely investigation, examination of prior medical/records of prior alleged injuries and claims against employers, consultation with doctors who examined Youman and his medical records, and the deposition of Youman and his treating physician.

The full case can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding this maritime matter, please contact Bill Schwartz at (504) 569-2900 or wschwartz@bhbmlaw.com.


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