Our Team - Nina M. Mitchell

Nina M. Mitchell

Member

Practice Areas

United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Defense Base Act

Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act

Jones Act and General Maritime Law

Insurance Defense

Personal Narrative

Nina joined Nicoll Black & Feig in February 2016. She primarily represents employers and their longshore carriers in claims made under the Longshore Act.  Formerly a partner at Holmes Weddle & Barcott, she has successfully defended claims under the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act, USL&H and Defense Base Acts, and the Jones Act and general maritime law.  She has represented clients before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, and various appellate entities.

Nina regularly presents on maritime law and related topics at programs sponsored by the Northwest Longshore Administrators’ Association, Lorman Education, the Puget Sound Maritime Claims Association, Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association, the Marine Insurance Association of Seattle, and other professional groups.

Before becoming a lawyer, Nina worked as a whitewater river guide, a deckhand on her family’s fishing vessels, and a painter and laborer at a boatyard on Lake Union.

Representative Decisions

  • Hernandez-Garcia v. Ice Floe, LLC dba Nichols Brothers, OALJ No. 2014-LHC-01160 (Sept. 16, 2015) and (June 14, 2017); Hernandez-Garcia v. Ice Floe, LLC dba Nichols Brothers, BRB No 16-0044 (Aug. 30, 2016)(second appeal pending). The employer paid certain medical and compensation benefits to a shipyard painter for a knee injury caused by a falling shelf. Claimant contended that he needed more treatment for the knee, and that he also suffered a back injury in the accident. Ms. Mitchell defended the employer and its longshore carrier. The judge relied upon testimony from claimant’s former colleagues to determine that claimant had not suffered a back injury in the accident; the judge relied upon testimony from medical experts to determine the claimant needed no further knee treatment; and the judge concluded that claimant’s work injury did not preclude him from returning to work as a shipyard painter. Accordingly, the employer was given a credit for the benefits already paid, and the claimant was awarded nothing.
  • Downey-Stammet v. CH2MHill Alaska, Inc., OALJ No. 2012-LHC-00343 (Nov. 2, 2012); Downey-Stammet v. CH2MHill Alaska, Inc., BRB Nos. 13-0076 and 13-0076 (Nov. 18, 2013); Downey-Stammet v. VECO, Inc., OALJ No. 2012-LHC-00343, (Apr. 20, 2015); Downey-Stammet v. CH2MHill Alaska, Inc., OALJ No. 2012-LHC-00343 (June 30, 2016). Ms. Mitchell argued that oil spill clean-up work on the beaches of Prince William Sound was not maritime work covered by the Longshore Act. An Administrative Law Judge and the Benefits Review Board agreed that claimant’s work on land, and the loading and unloading of oil-absorbent materials from transport vessels to facilitate that work, was not maritime work covered by the Act.  The Board remanded to the ALJ for consideration of whether claimant’s work on vessels was covered by the Act.  On remand, the ALJ determined that claimant also failed to prove any injury while working on vessels. Accordingly, the ALJ specifically dismissed the vessel-based claims.
  • Scarbrough v. Shannon Wagner dba Seattle Marine Construction, OALJ No. 2013-LHC-00937 (Jan. 30, 2015); Scarbrough v. Shannon Wagner dba Seattle Marine Construction, BRB No. 15-0199 (Feb. 23, 2016) (on remand). Claimant fell while boarding a vessel under construction in Portland, OR. He sought benefits for back, knee and internal injuries. Ms. Mitchell argued that claimant’s internal injuries were not related to the fall, that he was capable of working, and that none of his unscheduled injuries had caused a loss of wage earning capacity.  The Administrative Law Judge agreed, and limited claimant’s recovery to medical payments and a scheduled award for the knee injury. The Benefits Review Board affirmed many of the ALJ’s findings, and has remanded to the ALJ for additional analysis of total disability after the claimant’s knee surgery.
  • Samuel Huniu v. Eagle Marine Services, Ltd., OALJ No. 2012-LHC-00184 (May 24, 2013). Ms. Mitchell argued that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 19, purported rule against “light duty work” on the waterfront would not have prevented Mr. Huniu from returning to clerk work during the disputed time period. The Administrative Law Judge agreed that there was no such rule, and dismissed all Mr. Huniu’s claims against Eagle Marine Services.

Education

University of Puget Sound, B.A., 1993

Seattle University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1997

Bar Memberships

Washington State

Alaska State

U.S. District Courts (W.D. and E.D. Washington)

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit