In this state court case, a seaman sued his employer for back and neck injuries he allegedly sustained as a result of repetitive lifting of trays of dishes. The shipowner moved to dismiss the seaman's case as a fraud on the court. In his pre-employment questionnaire, the seaman denied any prior back or knee problems and any medical treatment for such conditions. The seaman's wife (divorce proceedings were pending) testified that her husband had been wanting to "set up" a worker's compensation claim. Medical records showed that the seaman had been treated on at least three occasions for the same back problems for which he was seeking recovery in the case over a three-year period prior to his current employment. The seaman was also previously diagnosed with a herniated disc and sciatica and instructed to avoid bending and lifting. The seaman was redeposed knowing his wife's testimony but continued to deny prior accidents or injuries or medical treatment to his back or knee.
The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, finding that "Plaintiff intentionally and fraudulently concealed the existence of his prior back and knee problems, lied in his discovery responses and that this deception went to the heart of the Plaintiff's claim in this case, which was based on the contention that these back and knee injuries instead resulted from his employment."