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Third Lawsuit Filed In El Faro Sinking

A third lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a crew member’s family after the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro. The litigation has been filed in federal court under the Jones Act, which functions in part as workers’ compensation for mariners.

Fort Myers attorney Elizabeth Kagan says El Faro Captain Michael Davidson and shipping company TOTE Maritime are responsible for the deaths of 33 crew members even though the vessel passed its annual inspections.

“The fact that it passed a U.S. Coast Guard inspection does not mean that it was seaworthy and if the owners found out in any way shape or form, I know that there was some deferred maintenance, but the fact of the matter is that you also know from the report that apparently they lost all power,” Kagan says. “Well, you just don't lose all power if everything was running perfectly.”

Kagan is representing the family of Jacksonville-based crew member Jackie Jones, who left behind four children.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.