Seaman sues three years after being struck by loose equipment

David Yates Oct. 16, 2007, 6:43am

Quentin Price

A seaman aboard a shrimp boat, Hector Mendoza was injured when a piece of equipment broke and swung across the ship's deck, striking him in the face.

Although the injury occurred three years ago, Mendoza is invoking the Jones Act and suing Jimmy Peter Nguyen, owner of the Quoc Thai III shrimping boat. His personal injury lawsuit was filed with the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 15.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, while the Quoc Thai III was shrimping in the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 16, 2004, Mendoza was struck in the face by a piece of equipment that had broken loose.

"Plaintiff's injuries were suffered in the course of his employment, and were caused by the negligence of Defendants…," the suit said.

In his suit, Mendoza claims Nguyen failed to maintain his vessel and its appurtenances in a seaworthy condition, failed to take reasonable precautions to protect him, and failed to provide adequate and proper medical care.

"Plaintiffs injuries were caused by defendants' breach of their absolute duty to furnish a seaworthy vessel," the suit said. "Defendants failed to inspect and replace worn or defective equipment in a reasonable and safe manner."

Mendoza is suing for past and future physical pain, lost earnings, disfigurement, impairment and medical expenses.

He is represented by Quentin Price of the Barton, Price, McElroy & Townsend law firm in Orange.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E180-522

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