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Family files lawsuit against Aleutian Spray Fisheries

January 10th, 2011 | Alaska Newspapers Staff Print this article   Email this article  

A worker who died on Sept. 7 aboard the F/V Siberian Sea did not die of natural causes, according to a lawsuit filed by the family of the deceased, Russell "Rusty" Jennings, 39, of Michigan, in King County Superior Court.

A story in the Seattle Post Intelligencer about the lawsuit said attorneys for the family claim that the boat's owner, Seattle-based Aleutian Spray Fisheries, Inc., hid the facts about Jennings' death from his family. The lawsuit alleges his death was the result of poor safety practices aboard the 135-foot longliner in the Bering Sea. According to the lawsuit, a company representative told Jennings' parents he was found unconscious on the deck next to a conveyor belt.

Police reports obtained by the family say Jennings had been working alone when he became caught in a conveyor belt and pulled into a narrow chute cut through a bulkhead. The belt was still powered when crewmembers arrived, but had been stopped by Jennings' body.

"The company does not agree with many of the claims made in the lawsuit, but will not otherwise comment on pending litigation, said Aleutian Spray attorney David Bratz in an e-mail to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.


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