Five-foot fall leaves man unable to work, sues Valero

David Yates Feb. 13, 2008, 7:28am

The average NBA player can leap anywhere from three to four feet in the air. Not a professional athlete, Quenten Pete fell 5 feet while working at the Port Arthur Valero plant. Claiming the oil company negligently failed to provide him with scaffolding, Pete says he can no longer work and has filed suit.

According to Pete's petition, filed in the Jefferson County District Court on Feb. 12, on Sept. 27, 2007, he was employed by Thermal Insulation as an asbestos worker. After removing a line from a pipe at the Valero refinery, he attempted to climb down the pipe and fell 5 feet, landing on his left side. No fall protection was provided.

"Plaintiff would show that he had requested scaffolding be provided," the suit said. "However, the decision whether or not to install scaffolding was under the control of defendant, Valero. For whatever reason, Valero did not choose to contract for scaffolding to be provided. Valero did not install scaffolding itself."

Because Valero failed to provide him with a safe place to work, Pete is claiming that "he sustained a serious, crippling injury to his body," the suit said. "Among other injuries, he has significant problems with his left shoulder, left scapula and left hip. His left clavicle is now approximately one inch out of line. Everything in Plaintiff's left shoulder has shifted away from its normal, proper location."

"Plaintiff would show that he was born Aug. 13, 1976," the suit said. "At the time of his accident, he was 31 years old. He is now unable to work. He is still treating with his physicians and has been told that surgery is likely. As a result of Defendant's negligence and Plaintiff's resulting accident and injuries, Plaintiff has sustained a significant loss of past earnings and future earning capacity. Additionally, he has sustained physical impairment, pain, suffering and mental anguish as well."

Pete is represented by Steven C. Barkley, Attorney at Law.

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

Case No. B181-221

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