Maritime Law Insight: Navigating Crewmember Status (Are you who you think you are?)

Posted by John K. Fulweiler | Feb 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

Whether you qualify as a "crewmember" under the maritime law involves evaluating several criteria, including your duties, your connection to a vessel or fleet, and the duration and nature of your employment.  An important factor is a "crewmember" contributes to the function of the vessel or the accomplishment of its mission.

In a lawsuit concerning a crewmember injury (Saltzman v. Whisper Yacht Ltd.), the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island analyzed seaman status under admiralty law.  The plaintiff, Robert B. Saltzman, contended he was a seaman injured while working on the S/Y Whisper, and made claims under the Jones Act and general maritime law against multiple entities associated with the yacht.  Maritime lawyer John K. Fulweiler represented Saltzman in navigating through complex legal arguments concerning ownership and employer responsibilities.  The court's analysis focused on the relationships between the entities and their control over the yacht and its crew.

Fulweiler's advocacy was pivotal in successfully arguing Saltzman's position.  This decision underscores the nuanced considerations in determining seaman status and employer liability in maritime law and showcased John Fulweiler's aggressive and knowledgeable representation of maritime workers.

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About the Author

John K. Fulweiler

Proctor-In-Admiralty / Licensed U.S. Coast Guard Master Formerly a partner in a New York maritime law firm, John K. Fulweiler graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Marine Affairs degree and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. In addition to being recognized by...


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