Seaman hurts back moving heavy ladder, files Jones Act suit

Marilyn Tennissen Oct. 23, 2007, 10:18am

Dan Packard

While at work on a ship, a Port Arthur man injured his back moving a ladder. He is now suing his employer and the ship's owner under the Jones Act.

Carlos Guzman filed his personal injury lawsuit against CBH Services Inc. and Horizon Offshore Contractors Inc. in Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 22.

On May 8, Guzman was assigned by his employer CBH to work as a welder on "The Atlantic," a vessel owned by Horizon.

"At the time of the incident, plaintiff was required to move a metal ladder that was too heavy for him, which effort severely injured his back," the plaintiff's original petition states.

Guzman says the incident caused him to sustain serious and permanent injuries including a herniated disc in the lumbar spine. The original petition states that Guzman sought medical treatment shortly after the incident and continues to be under the care of medical professionals.
The petition says Guzman has not been able to return to work.

Under the Jones Act, Guzman alleges that the defendants were negligent for failing to provide him with a safe place to work; failing to provide reasonably safe tools, appliances and equipment; failing to provide adequate supervisory personnel and adequate number of employees; failing to adequately train and failing to provide proper lifting equipment.

In addition, the plaintiff alleges that the vessel was unseaworthy, which contributed to his injuries and damages.

Guzman further alleges that CBH willfully and arbitrarily cut off his maintenance and cure benefits, entitling him to additional medical expenses, emotional stress and mental anguish and attorney fees.

The plaintiff is seeking monetary relief of $50,000 or more.

Daniel Packard of Packard, Packard & Lapray in Beaumont is representing the plaintiff.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Case No. B180-564

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