760 F.3d 119 (1st Cir. 2014), 13-2109, Ramirez v. Carolina Dream, Inc.

Docket Nº:13-2109
Citation:760 F.3d 119
Opinion Judge:LIPEZ, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:SANTOS RAMIREZ, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. CAROLINA DREAM, INC., Defendant, Appellee
Attorney:Matthew Viveiros, with whom Hunt & Viveiros, LLC was on brief, for appellant. Joseph A. Regan, with whom Sean P. Scanlon and Regan & Kiely Owere on brief, for appellee.
Judge Panel:Before Howard, Stahl and Lipez, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 28, 2014
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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760 F.3d 119 (1st Cir. 2014)

SANTOS RAMIREZ, Plaintiff, Appellant,


CAROLINA DREAM, INC., Defendant, Appellee

No. 13-2109

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

July 28, 2014

Page 120


Matthew Viveiros, with whom Hunt & Viveiros, LLC was on brief, for appellant.

Joseph A. Regan, with whom Sean P. Scanlon and Regan & Kiely Owere on brief, for appellee.

Before Howard, Stahl and Lipez, Circuit Judges.


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LIPEZ, Circuit Judge.

Appellant Santos Ramirez, a seaman, became ill while working aboard a fishing vessel and was immediately hospitalized when he returned to shore. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a serious blood condition that prevented him from returning to work as a seaman. He subsequently brought this personal injury action against his employer, seeking a remedy under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30104, and general maritime law. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendant, Carolina Dream, Inc., on each of appellant's alleged causes of action. On appeal, Ramirez challenges only dismissal of his maritime claim for maintenance and cure, arguing that he is entitled to that remedy until he reaches " maximum medical recovery." Vaughan v. Atkinson, 369 U.S. 527, 531, 82 S.Ct. 997, 8 L.Ed.2d 88 (1962). Because we agree that the record would permit a factfinder to find that appellant is entitled to maintenance and cure, we vacate the district court's ruling and remand for further proceedings.


A. Factual Background

In recounting the facts, which we present in the light most favorable to appellant Ramirez, see, e.g., Adamson v. Walgreens Co., 750 F.3d 73, 76 (1st Cir. 2014), we borrow liberally from the district court's clear and succinct recitation.

Ramirez had been a crew member on the commercial fishing boat F/V DEFIANT for about eight years when, in December 2008, rough seas during a scallop fishing trip off the New Jersey coast bounced the vessel and caused him to strike his jaw against his bunk. He sustained a laceration inside his mouth, felt dizzy the next day, and began to feel weak and sick to his stomach about three days after the incident. Although appellant asked to be brought ashore, the captain refused and instructed him to perform his duties until the end of the trip.

Appellant's condition worsened before the vessel returned to its home port in Seaford, Virginia, several days later, and his wife took him directly from the dock to a hospital emergency room for treatment. He remained hospitalized for about a month, was discharged in mid-January 2009, but then was readmitted to a different hospital a week later because of continuing

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symptoms.1 He was then diagnosed with aplastic anemia, " [a] rare and serious condition" that occurs when the body stops producing sufficient new blood cells. See Mayo Clinic Staff, " Aplastic Anemia, Definition," http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/aplastic-anemia/basics/definition/con-20019296 (last visited July 9, 2014).

One of appellant's treating doctors reported that the exact cause of appellant's disease would likely remain unknown -- " as is the case in many occurrences of aplastic anemia" -- but the doctor noted his history of hepatitis C, a typical " culprit of aplastic anemia." Before the trip during which he became ill, appellant had experienced no symptoms and " was doing [his] work well." Ramirez states in his brief that he continues to undergo treatment for aplastic anemia and remains unable to work.

Ramirez filed this action in August 2011 alleging negligence under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30104, and maritime claims of unseaworthiness and maintenance and cure. He asserts that his injury " and the delay in receiving the proper medical treatment" caused " a serious infection that lead to [a]plastic [a]nemia." In opposing summary judgment, he averred that a factfinder could reasonably infer " manifestation of [his] aplastic anemia during his service to the FV DEFIANT." As noted above, appellant on appeal has challenged only the summary judgment for Carolina Dream on his cause of action for maintenance and cure. We thus limit our analysis to that claim.

B. The Doctrine of Maintenance and Cure

The owner of a vessel has a duty to pay maintenance and cure to a seaman " who [is] injured or fall[s] ill while 'in service of the ship.'" Whitman v. Miles, 387 F.3d 68, 72 (1st Cir. 2004) (quoting LeBlanc v. B.G.T. Corp., 992 F.2d 394, 396 (1st Cir. 1993)); see also A. Sounding Co. v. Townsend, 557 U.S. 404, 413, 129 S.Ct. 2561, 174 L.Ed.2d 382 (2009); Vaughan, 369 U.S. at 531.2 " Maintenance" refers to the cost of food and lodging during the period of illness or recovery from injury, and " cure" covers the reasonable medical expenses incurred for the seaman's treatment. A. Sounding, 557 U.S. at 413; Whitman, 387 F.3d at 71.

The remedy of maintenance and cure is deliberately expansive, see Vella v. Ford Motor Co., 421 U.S. 1, 4, 95 S.Ct. 1381, 43 L.Ed.2d 682 (1975) (noting the " breadth and inclusiveness of the shipowner's

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