Sacked Horizon whistleblower awarded more than $1m in damages

A US court has awarded more than $1m to a former Horizon Lines master who was sacked in 2013 following his action as a whistleblower. Captain John Loftus, a 20-year veteran, was removed from his post three years ago after reporting to the US Coast Guard and class society ABS safety violations on the Horizon Trader boxship, on which he had been working.

The judge noted that “Loftus resorted to reporting safety concerns to the regulatory agencies because of Horizon’s consistent failure to correct hazardous conditions aboard the Trader. Loftus was clearly a thorn in Horizon’s side.” Loftus was awarded $655,000 in back pay, $225,000 in punitive damages, $10,000 for emotional distress, and more than $200,000 in legal costs.