Electrician files Jones Act suit against Diamond Offshore

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Dec. 17, 2008, 12:29pm

GALVESTON – An electrician from DeWitt County is suing a Houston maritime company in Galveston County District Court for injuries he reportedly suffered on the job.

Richard Dean Dewitt of Cuero says his employer, Diamond Offshore Services Company, failed to ensure his safety while he worked on the company-owned vessel Ocean Clipper on April 9.

Dewitt's personal injury lawsuit was filed by Houston attorney Matthew D. Shaffer on Dec. 11. Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

The suit does not elaborate on the circumstances which led to the incident, but argues the defendant was negligent and the vessel was unseaworthy.

"Occurrences and injuries occurred as a proximate result of the unsafe and unseaworthy condition of the Ocean Clipper, its crews, and appurtenances and equipment…as a proximate result of the initial acts and lack of attention on the part of the defendants," the complaint says.

It also accuses Diamond Offshore of violating the Jones Act and U.S. general maritime law.

Dewitt claims to have sustained severe and painful injuries to his back, among other parts of his body.

"In connection therewith, (the) plaintiff would show that he sustained severe pain, physical impairment, discomfort, mental anguish, and distress to date and that in all reasonable probability, such physical pain, physical impairment, and mental anguish will continue indefinitely and into the future," the suit says.

Court documents explain Dewitt's consequent unemployment caused him to incur growing medical and pharmaceutical expenses, and the company refused to cover the costs.

"The plaintiff further alleges that the defendant has unreasonably, arbitrarily, willfully, and capriciously refused to pay maintenance to him and such sums were due and owing, and defendant has refused to provide him with medical cure," they say.

Dewitt also requests a jury trial.

Case No. 08CV1238

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