Protecting Cruise Line Employees' Rights to Maintenance and Cure: The Need for Pre-Trial Adjudication
Rory D. Bahadur
Washburn University - School of Law
University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2005-06
Cruise ship workers are often exposed to callous treatment by certain members of the cruise industry. Many cruise lines hire third world employees desperate for jobs and fearful of U.S. immigration authorities. Particularly appalling is the way foreign cruise line employees are sometimes deprived of maintenance and cure. Maintenance and cure is a maritime law doctrine which compels shipowners to provide medical care to seamen injured in the service of the vessel until the seaman is declared at maximum medical improvement (MMI).Despite the United States Supreme Court's repeated admonishment regarding maintenance and cure, cruise line employees often encounter delays with the maintenance and cure provision of their suits against their employers.
Two legal arguments are frequently put forth by the cruise industry in an attempt to avoid or delay fulfilling their legal obligations to seaman medically signed off cruise vessels: 1) Courts cannot compel the provision of disputed medical care or cure before trial or summary judgment and 2) The duty to investigate claims of seamen's injuries gives shipowners a broad right to delay or deny provision of medical care or cure. This article demonstrates that these legal arguments are unsustainable and do not justify the delays they cause in the provision of maintenance and cure. The case of Vesna Nasteska v. Carnival Cruise Lines is used as an example of a foreign cruise worker denied maintenance and cure after a medical signoff.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: maintenance, cure, seaman, cruise line, maritime law, maximum medical improvement, vesna nasteska, carnival cruise lines, pretrial adjudicationAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 15, 2008
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