Seaman seeks $2.5 M in personal injury suit against dredging company

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 29, 2008, 8:41am

Tony Buzbee

GALVESTON – Accusations of negligence and disregard for safety may compel a Port Lavaca-based ship company to compensate an injured ex-worker

Seaman Oscar Reyes Jr. argues in a suit filed in Galveston County District Court April 21 that T.W. Laquay Dredging Inc. bears responsibility for injuries sustained to his back and other parts of his body while on the job. Moreover, he claims Laquay dismissed him for obtaining medical help.

According to the suit, Reyes was performing his regular duties aboard one of Laquay's vessels in High Island on or around the night of April 7 when he reportedly tripped over a cable and fell onto the deck of the barge, injuring his body.

"Said injuries were caused in whole or in part by the negligence of the Defendant, its agents, servants and/or employees and/or was legally caused by the unseaworthiness of Defendant's Vessels," states the suit.

The Plaintiff claims his work area lacked sufficient lighting and the cable he encountered was not supposed to have been left out on the deck, apparently bringing about his fall.

The suit also mentions another incident in which Reyes was hurt.

Two weeks before Easter, Reyes was on a ladder placing a saddle on a discharge pipe when he was supposedly being rushed by his supervisor to complete the task.

"The supervisor kept coming out and admonishing him to hurry," says the suit. "While stepping down from the ladder, the coworker who was holding the ladder let go, causing Plaintiff to fall off the ladder onto a hose rack."

Reyes tried to continually work through his injuries, but decided to stop and seek immediate medical treatment. He was eventually terminated.

Now incapacitated, Reyes "has suffered a loss of wages in the past and loss of or reduction in the capacity to work and earn money in the future and, in reasonable probability, his earning capacity has been impaired permanently."

The suit also stresses that Reyes suffered severe bodily injuries and mental anguish which may last a long period of time.

"Plaintiff will continue to do so for the balance of his nature life."

The suit demands restitution of $2,500,000 in addition to other damages. A jury request was filed April 23.

Anthony G. Busbee is representing Reyes. Judge Wayne Mallia has been assigned the case.

Case No. 08CV0400

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