Clumsy deckhand trips on cable, sues Marine Fueling

David Yates Oct. 24, 2007, 7:20am

Dan Packard

A newly hired deckhand got his feet tangled while moving some cable and fell. Armed with the Jones Act, Steve Sanders is blaming and suing his employer, Marine Fueling Service Inc., for his injuries, claiming the company failed to properly train and supervise him while forcing him to perform an "unsafe activity."

Sanders' personal injury lawsuit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 22.

In his suit, Sanders says the incident occurred on May 27, 2007. He was assigned to the Marine Fueling vessel CBC 88, a barge, to work as a deckhand.

"Plaintiff had been working for defendant for only a short period of time and was untrained," the suit said. "Additionally, he was required to work by himself even though Defendant had promised him additional, trained staff to help."

Sanders was instructed to move cable from one end of the ship to the other, the suit said.

"As should have been expected, plaintiff got his foot caught in a cable while performing this unsafe activity and fell," the suit said.

Sanders claimed he sustained serious and permanent bodily injuries. He sought medical treatment shortly after the incident and continues to be under the care of medical professionals. Sanders has not returned to work since the incident.

In his suit, Sanders alleges the following acts of negligence:

- Failing to provide him with a safe place in which to work;

- Failing to provide him with reasonably safe and suitable tools, appliances and equipment with which to do his work;

- Failing to provide him with an adequate force of competent supervisory personnel to supervise work requested with reasonable safety;

- Failing to provide him with additional employees who were adequate in number and training to carry out the assignments given to him with reasonable safety;

- Failing to establish and enforce rules and regulations for the workers and supervisory personnel to follow;

- Failing to adequately train the vessel operator;

- And failing to provide proper lifting equipment.

"In addition, Plaintiff would show that he is entitled to maintenance and cure," the suit said. "Plaintiff further alleges that Marine Fueling willfully and arbitrarily cut off plaintiff from his maintenance and cure and that such failure has resulted in an aggravation of his injuries. Thus, plaintiff is entitled to additional damages including additional medical expenses, emotional stress and mental anguish, as well as attorneys' fees in obtaining the benefits."

Sanders is also suing for impairment, disfigurement and loss of earning capacity.

He is represented by Daniel Packard of the Packard, Packard & LaPray law firm.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. A180-563

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