Galveston seaman seeks $2.5 M from ship company for onboard injury

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jan. 7, 2009, 6:00am

Tony Buzbee

GALVESTON – A local seaman is seeking $2.5 million for injuries he sustained when several vessels collided.

Morgan Whittington claims he was working on the Miss Sally on Dec. 6, when it struck other barges. The seaman says he was sitting on a bench in the galley when the collision occurred, and he was knocked into a wall and then was crushed when an ice box fell on top of him.

Whittington's personal injury suit was filed by Galveston attorney Tony G. Buzbee on Jan. 5 in Galveston County District Court against Breathwit Marine Contractors Ltd.

Whittington faults Breathwit for failing to secure the ice box.

"Said injuries were caused in whole or in part by the negligence of the defendant, its agents, servants, and/or employees," the complaint states.

The suit claims Whittington sustained severe injuries to his lower back, neck, right hand, right leg, and other parts of his body, and was unable to continue working.

"As a result of the foregoing injuries, the plaintiff has suffered a loss of wages in the past and a loss of capacity to work and earn money in the future and, in reason probability, his earning capacity has been impaired permanently," the suit states.

Whittington claims he can no longer perform household tasks and that Breathwit has refused to cover his medical expenses.

"The plaintiff would show that he has not reached maximum medical improvement and that the defendant's duty continues," the original petition states.

Whittington's case, which has been assigned to Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner, also accuses Breathwit of violating general U.S. maritime laws.

In addition to the $2.5 million and attorney's fees, the plaintiff demands a jury trial.

Case No. 09CV0010

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