Fisherman Stressed by Near Miss Can Sue
Freighter that killed one pilot barely missed another
SEAL BEACH, CA - OCTOBER 1: A sailboat passes by as fully-loaded container ships remain stranded outside of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach while a lockout of dockworkers by shippers continues October 1, 2002 in Seal Beach, California. The shutdown of west coast ports is costing the U.S. economy nearly $1 billion each day, according to estimates by the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents 20 West Coast ports that locked out dock workers. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the nation's busiest and the fall months are typically the busiest of the year as retailers stock up on imported goods for the Christmas shopping season. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 Updated at 4:15 PM PST
Three years ago, the massive freight ship Eva Danielsen narrowly missed fisherman Brian Stacy in the waters off of Point Reyes during a foggy day.
It continued on only to strike the boat of Paul Wade, who went overboard and drowned.
Stacy wanted to take the owners of the Danielsen to court to sue for the emotional distress that the near miss and nearby fatality caused.
Stacy contends that he missed work and needed therapy in the wake of the incident.
However, his case was thrown out by the original judge because Stacy hadn't actually seen Wade killed.
But citing precedent, a panel of judges from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Stacy's right to sue in a 2-1 ruling.
Stacy's lawsuit, which alleges the freighter wasn't paying attention to other traffic with radar or lookouts, can now move forward.
Jackson West would need psychiatric treatment, too, if he barely made it out of the path of an oncoming freighter.
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