Order keeps details of seaman’s suit vs US confidential

Posted on Jul 17 2019


The federal court issued Monday an order that keeps confidential the details of a lawsuit that a merchant seaman filed against the U.S. government over the injuries he suffered aboard a ship at a dock in Japan.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona agreed that a protective order is appropriate as the parties in this case expect to exchange confidential personal and medical records.

They also want potential records protected since to the incidents complained of involve a U.S. naval vessel and personnel.

Merchant seaman Kenneth Lockhart, an American who is a resident of Saipan, alleged in his lawsuit that he suffered when a loaded palate tilted and pinned him against the railings aboard a ship at a dock in Japan in 2016.

Lockhart said the U.S. owned the vessel, USNS Montford Point, which was operated and managed by Ocean Shipholdings Inc.

Lockhart, through counsel William M. Fitzgerald, is suing the U.S. for negligence under the Jones Act, for unseaworthiness, and failure to maintain and cure the vessel.

Lockhart asked the court to hold the U.S. government liable to pay him damages, medical expenses, loss of earnings, and court costs. He wants a jury trial.

Manglona ordered that any party or non-party may designate as “confidential” (by stamping the relevant page) any document or response to discovery which that party or non-party considers in good faith to contain information involving trade secrets, of confidential business or financial information, subject to protection under the law.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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