Hole in scaffold leads to suit against Atlantic Scaffold, ExxonMobil

David Yates May 12, 2008, 7:32am

Almost everyone has seen a show where an unwitting character steps on a rickety wooden bridge only to go crashing through a hole. Epifanio P. Oliva can now say he was lived the cinematic cliche.

While working on a scaffold at ExxonMobil's Beaumont plant, Oliva fell through a hole and became entangled in the structure. He claims he has suffered permanent injuries and filed suit against the oil giant and Atlantic Scaffolding on May 7.

The incident occurred on June 23, 2007, according to Oliva's suit.

"At the time of the injury, a chemical plant was located on the premises," the suit states. "Oliva was working on scaffolding when he fell through a hole in the scaffolding and got caught up in the scaffolding."

Oliva argues both ExxonMobil and Atlantic Scaffolding negligently failed to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition and warn him of any looming dangers.

"For example, there was a hole in the scaffolding which was difficult to see," the suit says.

"Defendants failed to exercise ordinary care to reduce or eliminate this risk, or to warn invitees regarding it. Defendants knew the visually obstructed hole was in the scaffolding and negligently failed to fix it."

Oliva also contends that nothing he "did or failed to do on the occasion caused or in any way contributed to cause his injuries," the suit states.

"To the contrary, the occurrence in which Plaintiff was injured and the injuries which he sustained were proximately caused by the negligence … of Defendants."

Oliva is suing for past and future mental anguish, impairment, disfigurement, medical expenses and lost wages.

He is represented by Vuk S. Vujasinovic of the Vujasinovic & Beckcom law firm.

His suit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D181-711

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