recovery is barred by his execution of the release, alluded to above.
We must here bear in mind that seamen are more carefully protected by the courts in their rights than are the ordinary run of mankind. As far back as 1823 it has been the law in this country that
'Every court should watch with jealousy an encroachment upon the rights of seamen, because they are unprotected and need counsel; because they are thoughtless and require indulgence; because they are credulous and complying; and are easily overreached. But courts of maritime law have been in the constant habit of extending towards them a peculiar, protecting favor and guardianship. They are emphatically the wards of the admiralty; and though not technically incapable of entering into a valid contract, they are treated in the same manner, as courts of equity are accustomed to treat young heirs, dealing with their expectancies, wards with their guardians, and cestuis que trust with their trustees. They are considered as placed under the dominion and influence of men, who have naturally acquired a mastery over them; and as they have little of the foresight and caution belonging to persons trained in other pursuits of life, the most rigid scrutiny is instituted into the terms of every contract, in which they engage. If there is any undue inequality in the terms, any disproportion in the bargain, any sacrifice of rights on one side which are not compensated by extraordinary benefits on the other, the judicial interpretation of the transaction, is that the bargain is unjust and unreasonable, that advantage has been taken of the situation of the weaker party, and that pro tanto the bargain ought to be set aside as inequitable.' Harden v. Gordon, Fed.Cas. page 485, No. 6,047.
In short, the burden is on the ship owner to show that the release was "fairly made with and fully comprehended by the seaman." Garrett v. Moore-McCormack Co., 1942, 317 U.S. 239, 63 S. Ct. 246, 252, 87 L. Ed. 239. How can it be claimed that, as to a seaman, a settlement is fairly arrived at, when the ship owner, though innocently, misrepresents both the facts and the law to the seaman, and, by claiming he is practically well, impliedly urges the seaman to settle for an inadequate sum, all this at a time when that seaman lacks his own advisors on either the facts or the law? In short, it would appear that, as to this matter of Thompson's neuropsychiatric syndrome, or anxiety complex, admittedly real, but a difficult thing at best to either diagnose or prognose, both Dr. Farr and the Stapleton Hospital were much mistaken as to its future effects and continued existence. Had defendant not advised Thompson of Dr. Farr's report or insisted that it was right, and that he was practically a well man, that would have been one thing. For then Thompson would presumably have acted upon the basis of his own judgment alone, not as influenced by the mistaken viewpoint and technical information of defendant. Or, had Thompson himself been properly represented legally, with his own medical advices on which to rely, then, even though defendant urged the correctness of its views, Thompson would have presumably settled upon the basis of his own considered and properly advised judgment. Under either of the above circumstances, the release would doubtless bind, as being 'fairly arrived at'. Bonici v. Standard Oil Co., 2 Cir., 1939, 103 F.2d 437; Sitchon v. American Export Lines, 2 Cir., 1940, 113 F.2d 830. But here, to the contrary, not only did Thompson not have the aid of any legal and medical advices of his own, but the defendant, which did have that aid, insisted that its advices were correct, and in essence urged Thompson to settle for an amount now shown to be clearly inadequate, when it turns out that defendant's representations to Thompson as to his condition were, in fact, incorrect. Thus this seaman, in the same inferior position as a ward in dealing with his guardian, was induced to settle for an inadequate sum by the incorrect representations of the other party, in a superior position to him. Such a settlement certainly is not 'fairly arrived at'. Nor are McGraw v. States S.S. Co., D.C.N.D.Cal.S.D.1953, 116 F.Supp. 446 and Wilson v. McCormick S.S. Co., 38 Cal.App.2d 726, 102 P.2d 412, 1940 A.M.C. 1004 (State of California) to the contrary. For in McGraw (116 F.Supp. 447), the Court's opinion states that the ship owner 'was in no better position to determine the clinical or medical facts than was libelant'. And in Wilson (38 Cal.App.2d 726, 102 P.2d 417), the opinion says 'The record is totally bereft of any evidence that the appellant steamship company or its representatives did anything either to urge respondent (seaman) to enter into negotiations for a settlement or to induce him to sign the release * * *.' In the case at bar, on the contrary, the ship owner was in a better position to determine the medical facts due to the report of its own medical expert, Dr. Farr. And it is clear that defendant's agent, in insisting that Thompson was practically well, did induce Thompson to sign the release for the inadequate sum. The release accordingly is no bar, though, of course, the $ 4,000 paid thereon must be credited upon any award of damages made by this Court.
Turning to the question of damages, we find that Thompson, as a result of the fact that defendant's ship was unseaworthy, suffered actual, and permanent, brain damage. As a result (1) Thompson is no longer able to act regularly as a cook, with a petty officer's rating, a real loss in prestige and accommodations at sea, (2) he suffers a substantial pay loss, (3) he suffers, and will suffer, severe headaches and other unusual pains in his head off and on for the rest of his life, and (4) he has a neuropsychiatric condition or anxiety complex which renders him restless and dissatisfied with himself, no matter where he is or what he does.
It is true that one with an anxiety neurosis is apt to over-state, if not over-feel, the effects of this brain damage. Of course, his over-statements must be discounted, but not so his over-feeling. This latter defendant's own doctor testified was not sham, but real. It is, of course, also true, as the hospital records show, and Thompson admitted, that he had suffered from certain other diseases, which doubtless had a substantial effect upon this anxiety syndrome, in that they directly bore on certain of his hospitalizations and operations, if not on the brain damage itself. So we must consider the above symptoms of Thompson only to the extent that Medina's attack on him aggravated these symptoms.
However, bearing all these elements in mind, and the fact that Thompson is some sixty-three years old, and giving credit to defendant for the $ 4,000 already paid in connection with the release, the Court would feel that the additional amount of $ 16,000 would fairly compensate Thompson for his out-of-pocket loss, his pain and suffering and permanent disability caused him by the above unseaworthy condition of defendant's vessel.
The facts herein stated and the conclusions of law herein expressed shall be considered the findings of fact and the conclusions of law required by Fed.Rules Civ.Proc. rule 52, 28 U.S.C.A.
Judgment may be entered accordingly.