Seaman's Contractual Entitlement to Maintenance and Cure

In Salazar v. American Export Lines, 114 NYS2d 370 [NY City Mun Ct 1952], a seaman, who was alleged to have become ill or injured during his period of service on a vessel, brought three separate small Claims actions against the shipowner seeking to enforce his implied contractual entitlement to "maintenance and cure." Each of the actions sought to recover maintenance and cure for separate periods of 12 days each, so that each action's total would fall just within the then-monetary limit of the Small Claims Part. The defendant moved to consolidate the actions and transfer them to a regular part of the court, asserting that the plaintiff had actually split a single cause of action. Holding that each day's claim represented a separate cause of action, the court denied the defendant's motion. (See also, Trince Elec. v. Restoration Unlimited, NYLJ, Apr. 10, 1991, at 22, col 6 [Civ Ct, NY County].) In Trince, the court held that mandatory arbitration pursuant to 22 NYCRR 28. 2 was required for a Civil Court complaint seeking $ 28,358.16, despite the fact that the jurisdictional limit for arbitration was $ 10,000, because the complaint stated individual causes of action, each seeking sums less than $ 10,000.