Crime & Courts

‘Deadliest Catch’ boat owner sues production company over former deckhand’s medical care

The owners of a fishing vessel featured in “Deadliest Catch” are suing the reality TV show’s production company and a contractor after a former crew member blamed a lack of prompt care during the pandemic for leaving him with serious medical problems.

The civil lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Alaska by attorneys for the F/V Northwestern, centers on 58-year-old former deckhand Nick Mavar Jr., a longtime cast member of the show that debuted in 2005 on the Discovery Channel.

The suit references a separate complaint Mavar filed in December in Washington’s King County Superior Court seeking more than $1 million in damages from the Northwestern’s owners, listed by Washington state records as Sig Hansen, the boat’s captain, and his wife, June. F/V Northwestern LLC is licensed in Alaska.

Both lawsuits cite the “failure to have an adequate plan in place” to get outside medical help during a time when COVID-19 protocols were in place to protect cast members from infection.

Mavar was working on the Northwestern at the height of the pandemic in late December 2020 and January 2021, they say.

His complaint claims that a “delay in competent and adequate examination, testing, and diagnosis” led to a ruptured appendix as well as the discovery of a cancerous tumor.

The lack of a plan for outside medical care led to the “failure to assure plaintiff was promptly taken to the Dutch Harbor medical clinic for an examination and assessment of plaintiff’s medical condition,” the original complaint claims. It also alleges that the delayed care caused the rupture, leading to infections, surgeries and cancer treatment that “would not have occurred had the appendix been removed prior to rupture.”


Mavar couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The personal injury lawsuit he filed in December blames the Northwestern’s owners for his medical problems, but the boat owners deny liability, according to the new complaint. Instead, the Alaska lawsuit says, the liability rests on the production company and the subcontractor used to provide medical aid on board.

The new lawsuit filed by the Northwestern’s owners claims that Original Productions Inc., based in Burbank, California, developed and implemented the COVID-19 protocols, then failed to manage them properly. It also charges that a subcontractor hired to handle medical services aboard the boat, Tennessee-based Trifecta Solutions LLC, failed to render appropriate care.

One of the company’s medics examined Mavar multiple times after he reported abdominal pain, the new lawsuit claims.

Northwestern’s owners are now seeking damages, legal and medical payments related to Mavar’s injuries, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit was filed by Seattle law firm LeGros Buchanan and Paul. An attorney on the case did not return a call for comment.

An Original Productions spokesman did not respond to a request for information Monday. A representative of Trifecta Solutions said the company had no comment when reached by phone.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at