Omar v. Al Masar Transp. Co.

Although Section 9(b) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides for death benefits for the widow of a decedent, it does so only in cases where the widow was living with, dependent upon, or separated from the decedent for a justifiable cause or by reason of desertion at the time of his death.  The decedent, a Jordanian national, married his first wife in an Islamic ceremony in Palestine, had four children with her, and then relocated to California, where he subsequently married two other women without having divorced the first wife.  Without reaching the legality of the first marriage at the time of the decedent’s death, the Administrative Appeals Judge found that the first wife was not eligible for death benefits under the Act because she had not been living with nor dependent upon the decedent for many years, and because she did not submit evidence that she had continued to live in Palestine as his “deserted spouse” after he moved to the United States.

Omar v. Al Masar Transp. Co., No. 11-0809, 2012 WL 2520756 (Ben. Rev. Bd. June 14, 2012); see also 33 U.S.C. § 902 (16) (2006).

(Development authored by Sara Harlow)