Suit: Goggles would have prevented telephone worker's blindness

David Yates Oct. 22, 2007, 8:00am

Blinded in his dominant eye, Marion Frazier lost half of his vision when a large J-screw "ripped painfully through his pupil and iris" while working on a telephone pole.

Frazier is suing AT&T Communications and Four Star Communications, claiming the companies negligently failed to provide him safety goggles. He filed suit in the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 18.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on July 10, 2007, Frazier suffered a devastating and disabling injury to his eye while working for his employer, Four Star, who was hired by AT&T to do work on telephone poles and lines that were owned and operated by AT&T in and around Jefferson County.

"On the date of this accident, Mr. Frazier picked up his tools, equipment and supplies at an AT&T facility located at or around Highway 69 and Highway 105," the suit said. "The supplies and equipment included, among other things, gloves, hard hats and tools. However, no safety glasses or goggles were made available. "

Frazier then proceeded to the jobsite and was performing his duties when a large J-screw "came loose from the telephone pole and struck (him) in his eyeball, gouging it, as it ripped painfully through his pupil and iris. It then became lodged in the open wound."

Frazier was taken by emergency helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where he underwent emergency surgery.

"As a result of this accident, Mr. Frazier is now blind in his dominant eye. He has been unable to work since," the suit said.

Frazier asserts the communication companies owed him a duty to provide a safe work environment, provide the necessary tools and equipment necessary to perform his work and instructions on how to perform his work duties.

"…[O]ne essential item was not given to Mr. Frazier and that missing piece of equipment was a pair of safety glasses," the suit said. "It was reasonably foreseeable that an accident such as the one made the basis of this suit would occur, i.e., Mr. Frazier's eye being gouged out due to the fact that AT&T failed to provide adequate safety glasses."

Four Star Communications, Inc. has not obtained worker's compensation insurance through the state of Texas, and is therefore a proper party, the suit said.

Frazier is suing for exemplary damages, plus past and future medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, impairment and disfigurement.

"The plaintiff would show that the willful acts or omissions on the part of the defendants constitutes malice…and gross negligence," the suit said. "Plaintiff would show that the conduct on the part of the defendants, when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the defendants involved an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others..."

Frazier is represented by Dan Ducote Jr. of the Moore Landrey law firm.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B180-546

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