Dize v. Ass'n of Md. PilotsAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff worked for the Association of Maryland Pilots as a launch boat operator. Plaintiff was later promoted to assistant station manager. In 2008, Plaintiff was diagnosed with silicosis. Plaintiff sued the Association pursuant to the Jones Act, alleging negligence in regard to injuries he suffered from exposure to free silica during his employment. Whether Plaintiff's claim was properly made under the Jones Act depended on whether Plaintiff was a "seaman" at the time of the alleged negligence. To distinguish seamen from land-based workers, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a seaman must ordinarily have spent at least thirty percent of work time in service of a vessel in navigation. The lower courts concluded Plaintiff was not a seaman at the time of his injury and therefore granted summary judgment for the Association. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Plaintiff did not spend at least thirty percent of his work time performing sea-based duties, and therefore, Plaintiff was not a seaman for purposes of the Jones Act.