El marino no necesitó el testimonio de un perito en el juicio.

SOLANO v. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES, INC., 491 So. 2d 325 (Fla. App. 3rd 1986)

PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Appellant sought review of a decision of the Circuit Court for Dade County (Florida), which directed a verdict in favor of appellees in appellant’s Jones Act/unseaworthiness proceeding. The court based its judgment on the finding that, in the absence of expert testimony, there was no evidence to go to the jury that would establish that any acts or omissions by appellees proximately caused appellant’s injuries.

OVERVIEW: In a Jones Act/unseaworthiness proceeding brought against appellees, the trial court directed a verdict in favor of appellees on the basis that, in the absence of expert testimony, there was no evidence to go to the jury that would establish that any acts or omissions by appellees proximately caused appellant’s injuries. The appellate court reversed and remanded the trial court decision. The court found that appellant was competent to testify as a lay witness regarding the effect that noxious fumes had upon his body while painting a ship’s generator room without ventilation. The court found that appellant testified, without contradiction, that the fumes from paint caused him to become dizzy, resulting in his subsequent slip and fall. The court held that no expert testimony was required to establish a prima facie case. The court further held that, given the featherweight burden of proof necessary to establish Jones Act negligence, and the exceptionally light burden of proof necessary to establish proximate cause in unseaworthiness cases, it was error for the trial court to have directed a verdict.

OUTCOME: The appellate court reversed and remanded a trial court decision, which directed a verdict in favor of appellees in appellant’s Jones Act/unseaworthiness proceeding. The court held that the trial court erred in directing a verdict in favor of appellees on the basis that, in the absence of expert testimony, there was no evidence to go to the jury that would establish that any acts or omissions by appellees proximately caused appellant’s injuries.