Exploding pump burns seaman's face

David Yates Sep. 4, 2007, 9:51am

Arnold & Itkin

Exploding engine pumps seriously burned Maceo Carter's face, chief engineer for the Chesapeake Bay – a vessel owned and operated by the Omega Protein Corp.

Under the Jones Act, Carter is suing Omega Protein for negligently failing to maintain its vessel and properly train its employees. He filed his personal injury lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 31.

According to the company's Web site, Omega Protein is the nation's largest producer of Omega-3 fish oil, protein rich fish meal and fish solubles. "We market a variety of products derived from menhaden, an inedible fish found in abundant."

On Aug. 26, 2005, Carter says the Chesapeake was deployed in navigable waters. He was "aiding the vessel to accomplish its mission…when the engine pumps exploded in his face, causing him serious burns," the lawsuit states.

Carter contends the vessel was unseaworthy, and that he is entitled to punitive damages "because the Defendant's actions were grossly negligent," the suit said.

"Defendant (knew) that the conditions (aboard the Chesapeake) posed dangerous and grave safety concerns," the suit said. "Defendant had actual, subjective awareness of the risk, and consciously disregarded such risk by allowing Plaintiff to work under such dangerous conditions."

Carter is suing for past and future physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses and physical impairment.

He is demanding a trail by jury and is represented by attorney Kurt Arnold of the Arnold & Itkin law firm.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. D179-934

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