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Seaman sues luxury vessel operator

Seaman sues luxury vessel operator
Bryan Manabat 25 Jan 2018

A PROFESSIONAL seaman is suing a luxury-vessel operator for terminating him from employment when he brought to its attention practices that he said violated maritime laws.

Lawrence Williams, through attorney William M. Fitzgerald, filed the lawsuit in Superior Court against Phoenix Services Inc., which operates several luxury vessels provided to the patrons of Imperial Pacific Resort Casino for recreational purposes.

Williams is demanding a jury trial. He is asking the court for damages and punitive damages in an amount to be proven at trial, and other relief the court deems appropriate.

In his complaint, he states that he was employed by Phoenix Services in 2016 as manager of luxury yachts operated on behalf of IPI.

He alleged that he observed IPI violating numerous maritime and federal laws and regulations, adding that he brought this to the attention of Phoenix Services.

Williams said he believed that he was acting in the best interests of the company by bringing the violations to the attention of Phoenix management.

But Williams said Phoenix conditioned his continued employment upon his participation in unlawful conduct by IPI which he refused to do.

He alleged that IPI violated B-1 visa regulations, manning regulations, and regulations and standards requiring a vessel over 200 tons to go to sea during a typhoon.

He also alleged that IPI failed to perform adequate maintenance, rendering the vessels incapable of going to sea; ignoring safety-inspection requirements; and violating regulations covering commercial charters within U.S. waters.

On July 26, 2017, Williams was terminated by Phoenix Services.

He said he was terminated in retaliation for his numerous complaints about employment practices, as well as violations of the laws and regulations of the U.S.

He said the company provided no basis or reason for the termination.

When Williams asked the company why he was being terminated, he was told that it was because he seemed to be unhappy working for the company.

Williams said he he was replaced by a non-U.S. citizen.

According to his lawsuit, the actions of the company, its employees and agents were intentional and malicious, and were known, ratified and approved by the officers or managing agents of Phoenix Services.

Asked for comment, Imperial Pacific International said it was “informed by its attorneys that IPI is not a party to the lawsuit filed by the plaintiff against the reported defendant employer known as Phoenix Services Inc. As such, IPI has been advised that it would be improper and inappropriate to comment upon specific allegations in on-going litigation.”

IPI added that it “expects both its employees and other businesses associated with IPI including affiliates, consultants, professionals, vendors and their employees to conduct themselves lawfully and comply with local and federal laws, rules and regulations.”

Variety was unable to get a comment from Phoenix Services.