Hand Caught in Surimi Auger

Brittany decided to go to Alaska on a factory trawler for an adventure. She was a "greenhorn" processor. She was assigned the job of cleaning the surimi auger. This machine has a large "corkscrew" running horizontally, about six feet long, at about knee height of the deck. After the pollock fish mass passes through the auger, at the end of the shift, the machine needs to be cleaned.

In order to do this quickly, the supervisors had Brittany keep the machine running when she cleaned the auger with a hose. Brittany had on her rain gear. A sleeve got caught on one of the flights on the corkscrew auger. It pulled her arm into the auger. There was no emergency shut off switch nearby. Before her screams could alert a fellow worker, the auger had sucked her hand and arm into the machine. Brittany lost some a portion of her hand and forearm.

The Response

Again, the insurance company claimed that the injury was all the seaman's fault. "She should not have had her hand so close to the machine." This is a typical argument by an insurance company. Basically, the insurance company adjuster argues that it is okay to make a Jones Act fisherman do a dangerous job if there is some possible way to do that job without being injured. But, that is just not right.

The boat owner must do all he or she can to provide a safe place to work. In Brittany's case, shutting off the auger, including a lock-out-tag-out, is the safe way to do the job. It may take longer, but Brittany would still have her hand. We sued in Anchorage State Court. We were able to negotiate a settlement of over $2.5 million.

Many states have established guidelines that prohibit a lawyer from communicating past successes or financial results obtained if that communication is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve. We support those guidelines because no two death or personal injury cases are identical and because past success is not a guarantee of future success. While no law firm involved in handling difficult cases gets a successful result every time, over the years the lawyers at Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC have successfully handled many diverse cases in many different courts. The verdicts and settlements included on this page are for informational use only. Nothing on this page should be construed as a guarantee of results. The results in any case relate to the particular facts and circumstances of the particular legal situation. Results can vary widely given similar facts and circumstances.

Our Successes
$16,000,000 - Jury Verdict for Ferry Worker Injury Gangway Collapse
$4,200,000 - Wrongful Death Judgment for longshoreman killed by unsafe cargo container stow.
$4,000,000 - Jones Act Maritime Wrongful Death
$4,000,000 - Burn Injuries Fire and explosion in engine room of fishing vessel.
$3,500,000 - Brain Injury Tug boat deckhand injured by defect in barge’s crane.
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