Who’s a seaman? Supreme Court may chart the waters

Dize's bosses say his work didn't meet the definition of a "seaman"

Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

EWELL, Md. (AP) — In death, Maryland boat captain William Smith Dize is trying to be deemed a seaman so he can sue over his fatal illness.

His wife wants the Supreme Court to wade into the maritime dispute, and the justices are scheduled to discuss whether to take the case as part of a private conference Monday.

Dize sued his employer in 2008, claiming a boat maintenance project led to a deadly respiratory illness.

Dize’s bosses say his work didn’t meet the definition of a “seaman” — the designation needed to pursue the lawsuit under a federal law.

Maryland courts ruled against his family.

Experts say the case also is important to thousands of maritime workers who spend long periods on land, with shorter spells at sea.

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