Supreme Court Allows Widow to Sue Lockheed Martin

Supreme Court Allows Widow to Sue Lockheed Martin

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the widow of a man who drowned while working in late 2000 could sue his employer, Lockheed Martin Corp., for negligence.

Lockheed Martin had filed a petition invoking a federal maritime law that could have prohibited Lorraine Morganti from pursuing her claim. However, the high court refused to hear the company’s appeal.

The ruling has implications for others who work on navigable waters but don’t load or unload boats. It means that the federal law covers them.

Rocco “Rocky” Morganti, 58, of Syracuse, New York, drowned in Cayuga Lake in December 2000 while testing sonar transducers. He fell into the lake, but slipped beneath the water before a colleague could save him. He was not wearing a life jacket.

In 2001, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Lockheed Martin for not requiring workers on exterior walkways to wear life jackets and for not properly training its employees.

Morganti’s wife is suing Lockheed Martin under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. She is seeking $10 million for her husband’s death and an additional $2.5 million for his pain and suffering.

The jury trial is expected to begin late this year or early next.

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