Crab Fisherman, Represented by Myers & Company, Hammers Captain Keith Colburn and Wizard
We represented a longtime crab fisherman from the Wizard. He was the vessel’s engineer. One of his responsibilities was maintaining the engine room.
Unfortunately he suffered a fall on the engine room stairs and was unable to continue working as a commercial fisherman (particularly in the challenging crab fishing industry).
The fall occurred when he slipped on the engine room stairs. There was an ongoing problem on the Wizard with wet raingear being hung above the engine room stairs. The crew hung it there because the engine room is warm and is the best place to dry the raingear.
Water dripped from the gear onto the engine room stairs. The water wasn’t like tap water, it was mixed with fish oil from the bait.
This made the stairs slippery. The stairs were made of diamond plate. Oil and water collected on them. Non‑skid coating should have been but wasn’t used.
During trial we utilized a lot of material from The Deadliest Catch television series. It’s a tremendous source of information about the fisherman and their vessels.
The use of photos and video makes trial entertaining. Entertainment value helps keep people’s attention and amplifies persuasion.
We recovered enough money from the Wizard (and its insurers) to allow our client to retire from the fishing industry and enjoy tranquil shore‑side living in San Diego, California.
Captain Keith Colburn (as well as some of the other visible members of the Wizard) testified at trial. Captain Colburn is intelligent and articulate. But his fiery disposition was always just beneath the surface.
Recent news coverage details his attack on a Deadliest Catch cameraman. The show elevated Captain Keith (and his brother Monte) to reality TV stardom. It will be interesting to see whether the Wizard continues to be featured on The Deadliest Catch after Captain Colburn’s outburst.
Crab fishing is inherently dangerous. But the inherent danger doesn’t need to extend to interior stairs going down into the engine room.
We enjoy representing crab and other fisherman helping them obtain the compensation they deserve under both the Jones Act and Unseaworthiness Doctrine.