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Old 06-11-2016, 19:11   #16
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

As others have said, I would go talk to an Attorney. Actually, you could probably just call him and he'll drive right over. Be sure it's a lawyer who specializes in maritime or admiralty law. It's an entirely different court system in the US. Most cases these guys handle are injured seamen. They'll be glad to see you and there will be no charge.

The laws protecting seamen are very strong in the US. You are not the first sailor taken advantage of by a ship owner. My guess is that you qualified as a seaman the moment that boat entered US waters. The Jones Act is the best known law. Here's a Jones Act Q&A relevant to you:

Unpaid Maritime Wages
I completed my work offshore on a vessel, it's been two weeks and I have not received my pay check. I just can't get my paycheck.

What are my legal rights?

The law with respect to failure to pay seaman's wages is very clear and provides significant penalties under Federal Maritime Law.

Under the Federal maritime Law the Penalty Wage Statute provides;

At the end of a voyage, the master shall pay each seaman the balance of the wages due the seaman within 24 hours after the cargo has been discharges or within 4 days after the seaman is discharged, whichever is earlier.

When payment is not made as provided without sufficient cause, that master or owner shall pay to the seaman two days' wages for each day payment is delayed.

Should the seaman not be paid there exists a maritime lien on the vessel. This lien primes any other lien, including a vessel mortgage.

How does the law define "without sufficient cause"? The only way a master or owner can avoid payment is if the owner is insolvent and financially can not pay the seaman.

If the seaman is not paid within the times mandated by law the burden shifts to the vessel owner to prove that the owner was unable to pay the seamen.

Obviously, this Federal Law gives the seaman a strong tool at his disposal to seek the enforcement of this longstanding legal right.


The lawyer will tell you in 5 minutes whether you are in a good position. I suspect that he's going to file a lien - it will cover your wages, all your costs of getting your wages and probably living expenses while you and your crew are stuck in Hawaii. Oh, and a hefty lawyer's fee too. He'll also contact the boat's insurance company who will hit the roof.

Are you still on the boat? If so, stay there (leave at least someone there when you go talk to the lawyer). Be polite but firm. You aren't leaving the boat until you are paid and every day on the boat is an additional charge. You need the owner to feel an urgency to get this settled.
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Old 06-11-2016, 19:27   #17
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

I ran into this on land, for work done. So might not be the same...
My lawyer first issued a demand letter. Only cost $50. It shows you are serious, and will usually scare them into paying. They don't want their credit affected.
I didn't do a lien as I knew they were not going to sell the house anytime soon, and didn't have a mortgage. So we went with a collections agency. It cost 30% but at least I got some of it back.
If they have a loan on the boat, or sell it, a lien works better.
On all contracts I now have a clause stating the customer is responsible for any costs incurred to collect monies owed. That allows a collections agency to chase for what I am owed as well as their fees.
Hopefully you can collect soon, it's a real pain when someone messes with your livelihood.
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Old 06-11-2016, 21:19   #18
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

What despicable behavior by the owner!
Sorry I do not have good advice to give but reading all the above timely replies I believe you are getting it already
Please do keep us updated on developments.
Best regards,
Erik
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Old 06-11-2016, 21:23   #19
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

I do believe his comeuppance is imminent. Such is my hope. Yes, despicable and egregious.

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Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
What despicable behavior by the owner!
Sorry I do not have good advice to give but reading all the above timely replies I believe you are getting it already
Please do keep us updated on developments.
Best regards,
Erik
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Old 06-11-2016, 21:31   #20
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

Never had this happen to me. I have however turned down many jobs that felt like they would go this way. Lucky I guess.
Take it somewhere and hide it, when you still have control.
ce
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Old 06-11-2016, 23:29   #21
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Non payment for delivery crew

Legally you may collect from both if the contract is with both, which in a court means either. In other words, it's not for you to figure they should split the fee. If he's being a jerk and not paying you, ask her nicely if she'll pay you in full and she can collect it back at desolution...and she will collect it as that's how divorces work. This is for family law attorneys to sort out, not you.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:05   #22
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

Thank you all for your advice. I will be trying to find a maritime lawyer first thing in the morning.
I will let you all know how we get on.
To make matters worse I had my wife and little girl fly out for a holiday at the end of the delivery. This has totally ruined our time in Hawaii.


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Old 07-11-2016, 01:45   #23
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

Boats seized and sold at auction to pay off liens don't bring near market value. If the 'Gentleman' remains obstinate, all the better for you. The law indicates that you can use your lien as credit towards the purchase of the boat at auction. This is certainly a long shot, but not unheard of. You could conceivably come out of this smelling like the proverbial rose.

We are all hoping for the best for you and yours. You will get paid handsomely under the Jones Act. But it sounds like there is more to this than just wages. Again, I hope you do well.

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Originally Posted by lifeboatcox View Post
Thank you all for your advice. I will be trying to find a maritime lawyer first thing in the morning.
I will let you all know how we get on.
To make matters worse I had my wife and little girl fly out for a holiday at the end of the delivery. This has totally ruined our time in Hawaii.


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Old 07-11-2016, 02:11   #24
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

Initially I would try an LBA (Letter before action)

"A letter before action is the last letter you should send before commencing legal action to recover a debt. A final demand letter formally reminds and requests your client or customer one last time to make payment before you take legal action."


Example:-

https://www.rocketlawyer.co.uk/asset...ore-action.png
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:42   #25
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

Something for the US maritime attorney to decide, I'm sure.

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Originally Posted by paulajayne View Post
Initially I would try an LBA (Letter before action)

"A letter before action is the last letter you should send before commencing legal action to recover a debt. A final demand letter formally reminds and requests your client or customer one last time to make payment before you take legal action."


Example:-

https://www.rocketlawyer.co.uk/asset...ore-action.png
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Old 07-11-2016, 03:30   #26
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

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Originally Posted by CareKnot View Post
Something for the US maritime attorney to decide, I'm sure.

In the UK you can send it yourself prior they spending money on attorneys.
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:00   #27
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

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Originally Posted by lifeboatcox View Post
Hi Guys

I have just delivered a 52ft Cat from Australia to Oahu. I had a contract in place with the owners but when we arrived in Oahu we found ourselves mixed up in a huge domestic between the two owners. I have asked them to pay half each which the Lady has agreed to do but the Gentleman is refusing to pay his half. Any legal eagles out there with advice on how I can get payment for myself and my crew. One of my crew needs to get back to the UK but has got no funds because she has not been paid.
No legal Eagle but this is a frequent as a tradesperson, You do a job for someone then they can't or don't want to pay, we frequently did one or more of the following

1 , if one party agrees to pay ask them to pay for both (actually insist they pay)
2. if no-one wants to pay try being more aggressive with them, (don't abuse, or hit them)but try to make it uncomfortable for them to have you around knocking on doors and trying to get paid but always have your account?invoice and a copy of the contract with you in case they call the police (police are normal people and try to help you if you can explain the situation)
3. if the above fails move into their residence or the boat as you have no other place to go and squat , have loud parties and generally be a pig to enduce them to pay you so you can move on.
4. i have threatened people in the past but today the phone can record your actions so don't do that, but use your phone to record everything you discuss with them as a record for future should you need it. go to the local yacht club/marina /his workplace and badmouth him as much as possible, you may be surprised when all this starts to happen other businesses will start to question his ability to receive credit, i even try to call his bank manager, they all ask questions which puts them in a sticky situation,
5. carefully check the contract , do you have a penalty for late /nonpayment, if you do start to issue further invoices for you and your crew, also let him know that you will now have to give up another delivery as you can't leave until paid and you will seek these costs for you and your crew.

6. then go to seek a lawyer if the above fails, I'm a betting man and i recon you will have your money in a couple of days especially if the crew help and start putting real pressure on ASAP, but don't back down insist sternly on your pay.

let us all know how you go
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:14   #28
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

As suggested, very first thing to do is hire an attorney in the venue of the boat. Legal pressure works in developed countries...use it.
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:20   #29
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

I witnessed a cat get seized by Fed Marshall's in Hampton Roads a few years ago. A yard that had some work done ended up in a dispute with the owner. All it took was a lawyer filing the paperwork with a judge (who signed the papers).
Two Fed marshal's then posted a "seized" notice and then they babysat the boat (12 hr shifts) . It took about 5 days for the owner to pay the disputed bill.
The owner is responsible for the costs of the Marshalls that mount each day.
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:50   #30
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Re: Non payment for delivery crew

Agreed that if it's jointly owned and your contract has them both on it...it's not your problem who pays what percentage. They are both legally responsible for the full amount, so I would stay clear of agreeing to percentages. Once you agree, it could be considered to change the contract (ie: you come up with an agreement for her to pay 50% and she does, the agreement gets her clear of responsibility for the remaining 50%.)


You could probably notify them that you want this cleared up or you will be forced to bring in a lawyer and see what happens. Don't go into a lot of specifics, just ask for payment per the terms of the contract, include a due by date before you call in the lawyers.


The positive side is a 50' cat is likely worth enough that if it comes down to a lawsuit, there is enough value to cover the bill.
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