Barge cook claims she was fired after colon cancer diagnosis

By Steve Gonzalez | Jul 26, 2007

Vivian Cox filed a Jones Act complaint against Marquette Transportation and Bluegrass Marine in Madison County Circuit Court July 18, claiming she was fired after being diagnosed with cancer.

According to the complaint, Cox, a cook on the M/V Captain Bear Ive, became ill and requested medical attention while working on April 25.

Cox claims Marquette put her off the vessel in Wood River and she sought and received treatment at Alton Memorial Hospital.

She claims Marquette had the legal duty under the Jones Act to provide members of the crew with prompt cure and maintenance for their injuries and illnesses.

Cox claims cure and maintenance was initially provided, but once she underwent surgery for colon cancer, Marquette breached its legal duties and refused to pay her cure and maintenance and fired her, cutting her off from any health insurance benefits.

According to Cox, she sustained consequential damages over, above and beyond what she would have sustained from the natural course of her illness had she received prompt and appropriate cure and maintenance including an increased loss of chance of survival, increased mental anguish and physical pain, delayed recovery and increased cost of medical expenses.

"This conduct separately and as a whole, represents deliberate callousness and disregard for the seaman's predicament and justifies the imposition of punitive damages," the complaint states.

Represented by Roy Dripps of the Lakin Law Firm, Cox is seeking damages in excess of $100,000.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder.

07 L 644

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