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Published Appellate Decisions

Landmark Cases Represented by the Law Offices of Preston Easley APC, Top-Rated Hawaii and California Maritime Accident Law Attorney

At the appellate level, maritime injury and accident attorney Preston Easley has been a pioneer in expanding the rights of injured workers, frequently reversing lower court decisions and making new law.  Mr. Easley’s published appellate decisions are summarized below.  You can learn more about his extensive legal experience and his clients in his attorney profile.

Gizoni v. Southwest Marine, Inc., 909 F2d 385 (9th Cir 1990), allowed barge based shipyard rigger to bring Jones Act seaman action against his shipyard employer.  Reversed summary judgement granted by district court in favor of employer.

Southwest Marine, Inc. v. Gizoni, 116 LEd 2d 405 (1991), landmark seaman status case, ended “enumerated employee” doctrine and gave shipyard workers injured on barges and floating platforms the right to sue their employers as seaman under the Jones Act.  Affirmed Ninth Circuit decision which had reversed summary judgment granted by district court.

Gizoni v. Southwest Marine, Inc., 56 F.3d 1138 (9th Cir. 1995), reversed jury verdict, established new definitions for seaman status, and was first Ninth Circuit case to recognize the “fleet doctrine” in determining seaman status.

Martinez v. Korea Shipping Corp., 903 F.2d 606 (9th Cir. 1990), the seminal Ninth Circuit case on vessel owner duties to longshoremen, allowed longshoremen to sue vessel owners for negligence even if hazardous condition existed at time of vessel’s construction.  Ended immunity from “product liability” type actions that vessel owners previously enjoyed.  Reversed summary judgment granted by district court.

Martinez v.Pacific Industrial Service Corp., 904 F.2d 521 (9th Cir. 1990), extended maritime (admiralty) jurisdiction to product liability case against manufacturer of pierside hydroblasting machine that caused injury to tank cleaner on ship.  Reversed summary judgment granted by district court.

Mendez v. Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., 52 F.3d 799 (9th Cir. 1995), applied maritime three year statute of limitations to longshoreman’s products liability action against shipbuilder.  Reversed summary judgment granted by district court.

Butler v. Ingalls Shipbuilding, Inc., 89 F.3d 582 (9th Cir. 1996), established state law failure to warn cause of action as exception to government contractor defense for crewman injured aboard a U.S. Navy ship.  Reversed summary judgment granted by district court.

Gault v. Modern Continental/Roadway Construction Company, Inc., 100 Cal.App. 4th 991, 123 Cal.Rptr. 2d 85 (2002), allowed pile driver on flexi-float barge in flood control channel to pursue Jones Act seaman action against his employer.  Reversed summary judgment of Superior Court.

Leep v. American Ship Management, LLC, 126 Cal.App. 4th 1028, 24 Cal.Rptr. 3d 463 (2005), allowed injured merchant seaman to pursue claim for “unearned wages” for his full 90 day assignment to the vessel in spite of contrary provisions in collective bargaining agreement.  Reversed summary judgment of the Superior Court.

Healy Tibbitts Builders, Inc. v. Director, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, 444 F.3d 1095 (9th Cir. 2006), first Ninth Circuit case to extend Longshore Act jurisdiction to shoreside marine construction workers (pier construction at U.S. Navy Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor).

Neighbarger v. Irwin Industries,8 Cal. 4th 532 (1994), California Supreme Court reversed Superior Court and Appellate Court decisions against plaintiffs and held that the fireman’s rule did not apply to privately employed safety workers injured in an oil refinery fire.  The case also dealt with assumption of the risk and danger invites rescue.

Hernandez v. Badger Construction Equipment Co., 28 Cal.App.4th 1791 (1994).  The California Court of Appeal upheld jury verdict against crane manufacturer in favor of a shipyard worker injured in a crane two-blocking accident.  The Court of Appeal held that a jury finding of manufacturer negligence for failure to retrofit did not conflict with a concurrent finding of no product defect.

Brown v. National Steel & Shipbuilding Co.,34 BRBS 195 (2001) was the first case to grant full temporary total disability benefits to a Longshore Act employee in vocational rehabilitation due to an injury to an extremity (scheduled injury).

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Cases We Handle

  • maritime worker working on ship

    Longshoremen & Shipyard Workers

    Longshoring and shipyard work are very dangerous occupations. Workers in these fields, along with marine construction workers, are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, a very generous no-fault workers’ compensation system. It covers medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent disability and vocational rehabilitation.

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  • sea vessel docked at US shore

    Jones Act Seamen

    A seaman is a member of the crew of a vessel or group of vessels under common ownership or control. The vessel can be anything from a raft to a cargo ship. We represent seamen who work aboard recreational vessels, tugboats, dredges, barges, skiffs, workboats and cargo ships. We also represent seamen who are marine construction workers

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  • Diving

    We represent people who have been injured in SCUBA diving accidents and Commercial diving accidents. We also handle diving boat accidents. Diving can be very dangerous. We successfully represented a commercial diver who was seriously injured while cleaning the propeller of a U.S. Navy ship at Pearl Harbor

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  • accident at construction site and hard hat on floor

    Construction & Industrial Accidents

    Construction and industrial sites can be very dangerous. Although you generally cannot sue your own employer for a construction site or industrial accident (generally workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy against your employer) there are many circumstances in which you can file a third party lawsuit against an entity other than your employer for an unsafe condition at a work site which causes you to be injured

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  • Forklift and Crane Injuries Lawyer

    Crane & Forklift Accidents

    The Easley firm has extensive experience with crane and forklift accidents and workplace accidents involving dangerous equipment and machinery. These accidents can be caused by operator error and they can be caused by the unsafe and defective condition of the equipment

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  • auto accident involving two cars on a city street

    Motor Vehicle & Truck Accidents

    Motor vehicle accidents can result in serious injury and death. These kinds of accidents can involve automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and unsafe road design and unsafe road conditions

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  • Catamaran Injuries Attorney

    Passenger Vessel Accidents

    Passenger accidents are common on recreational vessels, catamarans, tour boats and cruise ships.  They are frequently caused by rough sea conditions and unsafe conditions aboard the vessels.  The Easley firm has extensive experience in the field of maritime law.  We have made new law in the field of maritime law with numerous precedent setting decisions in the State Appellate Courts, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court

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  • Defense Base Act

    The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act which covers civilian employees of U.S. defense contractors injured overseas, including war zones. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensations Act as extended by the Defense Base Act is a very generous no fault workers’ compensation system

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Areas Where We Practice

Preston Easley is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He served five years of active duty as a Naval officer — three years as a deck officer on a fast frigate and two years as a patrol boat skipper. Mr. Easley also served aboard a tank landing ship in the reserves.




Let Us Get You The Compensation You Deserve

Preston Easley is an experienced lawyer with considerable expertise in handling federal and state personal injury cases. He will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. Attorney Easley represents victims of serious and fatal accidents involving cars, trucks, construction projects and maritime work.

Construction Workers We Help

  • Crane and Forklift Operators
  • Pile Drivers
  • Scaffold Workers
  • Iron Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Operating Engineers
  • Electricians

Maritime Workers We Help

  • National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) Shipyard Workers
  • Manson Construction Company Workers
  • Manson Dredging Workers
  • Dutra Dredging Workers
  • Commercial Divers
  • Scuba Divers
  • Commercial Fisherman
  • Government Maritime Claims Against the Navy, Army Corps of Engineers, or the US Coast Guard, etc.
  • Marine Construction Workers
  • Offshore Oil and Gas Workers
  • Seamen
  • Shipyard Workers
  • YYK Enterprises, Inc.
  • Pacific Tugboat Service
  • Long Beach Container Terminal
  • Tugboat, Dredge, Longshoremen, and Ferry Workers
  • Barge Crews and Barge Workers
  • Marisco Limited
  • HL Welding
  • SSA Marine
  • Catalina Express
  • R.E. State Engineering
  • Shimmick Construction
  • Nova Group
  • American Scaffolding
  • Safway Scaffolding
  • Kirby Tugs
  • Crowley Tugboats
  • P&R Water Taxi
  • Continental Maritime
  • Pacific Ship Repair
  • Seaward Marine
  • Healy Tibbitts
  • General Construction
  • BAE Shipyards
  • South Coast Welding
  • Matson
  • Pasha
  • Hawaii Stevedores, Inc.
  • McCabe, Hamilton & Renny
  • Young Brothers
  • Sause Bros.
  • Foss Maritime
  • Fenix Marine Services
  • ITS
  • Total Terminals
  • TraPac
  • PCMC
  • Maersk
  • Yang Ming
  • China Overseas Shipping
  • Evergreen

Boating Accidents

  • Catamaran Accidents
  • Charter and Tour Boats
  • Cruise Ship Accidents
  • Passenger Accidents
  • Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft
  • Motorboat Accidents
  • Recreational Accidents
  • Scuba Diving Accidents
  • Speed Boat Accidents
  • Yachts and Sail Boat Accidents
  • Repair Accidents
  • Crew Accidents
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