Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve than Assigned Judge
The Court grants Defendant Jesse Benson's motion to dismiss . The Court grants Defendant Benson's motion to dismiss as to Count I without prejudice and as to Count II with prejudice. All pending dates and deadlines are stricken. Civil case terminated.
O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.
On August 7, 2012, Plaintiff American River Transportation Co., Inc. ("ARTCO") filed a two-count Complaint against Defendant Jesse Benson ("Benson") seeking a declaratory judgment and recovery of maintenance and cure payments. (R. 1, Compl.) On September 27, 2012, Benson filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint. (R. 11, Mot. to Dis.) For the following reasons, the Court grants the motion.
ARTCO is a Delaware corporation that operates commercial towboats. (Compl. ¶ 2.) Jesse Benson sought employment from ARTCO on or about September 2007. (Id. ¶ 4.) Benson underwent a physical examination and completed a health questionnaire before ARTCO hired him on October 4, 2007. (Id. ¶¶ 4-5.) During the examination and on his questionnaire, Benson denied ever having been diagnosed with or treated for any low back pain or injury. (Id. ¶ 5.) On June 3, 2010, Benson boarded an ARTCO boat. (Id. ¶ 7.) On June 5, 2010, Benson informed the boat's pilot that he had injured his abdomen on June 3, 2010. (Id. ¶ 8.) Benson left the boat and underwent treatment for a hernia, the cost of which ARTCO paid along with maintenance and wage payments. (Id. ¶ 8-9.)
In October 2010, before Benson returned to work, he complained of back pain. (Id. ¶ 10.) ARTCO refused to pay for treatments for this back pain based on his failure to report any pain until several months after working on ARTCO's boat. (Id.) Benson's doctor diagnosed Benson with congenital spondylolisthesis that predated Benson's employment with ARTCO. (Id. ¶ 11.) Benson then received treatment for his back and continued to receive treatment after he returned to work on ARTCO's vessels in March 2011. (Id. ¶ 12.) On January 3, 2012, Benson received an order for physical therapy after his doctor analyzed the results of a magnetic resonance imaging scan of his back. (Id. ¶¶ 13-15.) Benson did not inform ARTCO of the treatment he received or the prescribed physical therapy. (Id. ¶ 15.)
On January 22, 2012, ARTCO removed Benson from the boat on which he was working after he complained of back pain. (Id. ¶ 16.) Benson told ARTCO, during a phone interview on January 31, 2012, that he had never sought treatment for back pain prior to June 5, 2010. (Id. ¶ 21.) Benson subsequently obtained additional medical treatment for this back pain. (Id. ¶ 17.) ARTCO paid for some of Benson's medical treatment and paid Benson maintenance amounting to $5,627.09. (Id.) At some point, based on the belief that Benson was not entitled to maintenance and cure for his alleged back injury, ARTCO ceased paying Benson maintenance and cure. (Id. ¶ 23.)