Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P.

$2.5M Recovered for Daughter of Worker Killed in Delaware Dredging Accident


Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/28/2015 --The 4-year-old daughter of a crane operator who was tragically killed in a December 2014 dredging accident will be taken care of for the rest of her life as a result of attorney Matthew Shaffer's negotiation of a $2.5 million dollar settlement in a mere 60 days.

The single father from Newport News, Va., was working for Norfolk Dredging aboard a crane barge in Delaware when the barge capsized on Dec. 2 and 3 crewmembers were thrown into the Christina River. Two other workers were rescued immediately, but the single father remained trapped in the crane operating station and drowned. His body was recovered nearly 24 hours later.

"The Norfolk Dredging crew was performing routine dredging operations in the Port of Wilmington in Delaware," Shaffer said. "When the dredge barge is being moved, the standing order is for the cutting dredge to cease cutting operations. Due to miscommunications and a failure to follow proper procedure in this occasion, the crane operator was pulling up the anchors when the cutting apparatus started, which caused the crane barge to flip over. He was trapped in the crane and couldn't escape."

Attorney Shaffer, managing partner of the maritime law firm Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris, filed a claim against the worker's employer, Norfolk Dredging, under the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act.

Of the $2.5 million settlement, the majority of the funds will go into a trust to provide financial security for the future of the 4-year old daughter left behind by the worker's untimely death, Shaffer said.

"We moved quickly and successfully reached a settlement within 60 days of being retained by the worker's family," Shaffer said. "Cases like these usually takes 2 to 3 years to resolve, and sometimes even longer. However, I think the company recognized that there was indisputable negligence and there was also a clear appreciation for this young man. He was such a hard worker, and they knew him and knew the family and wanted to get it resolved as quickly as they could."

The man had been employed by Norfolk Dredging for more than 8 years and was also studying business at the University of Phoenix, according to his LinkedIn profile.

"You can tell from his writings that he was a great young man, and taking care of his daughter was the most important thing in his life," Shaffer said.

In his LinkedIn profile, the worker had written, "Working comes very natural to me. I've always believed that when you want something, you just have to go after it and give it your all. In addition the fact that I'm a single father just makes me strive that much more to be the best I can be, at anything I do. Not only am I a hard worker, I'm a role model for my daughter."

His daughter is now being cared for by the man's grandmother.

"It was an honor to represent this family and to make sure this little girl will be taken care of, that she'll be housed, educated and supported for the rest of her life so that her father didn't die in vain," Shaffer said.

About Matthew Shaffer
Matthew Shaffer is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law. He has represented thousands of maritime workers who work on waters across the United States and offshore. If you were injured or a loved one killed in a maritime or offshore accident, contact him today for a free case evaluation at 1-800-282-2122.