Fishermen blame boat crash on unmarked pipeline

Kelly Holleran Feb. 10, 2009, 8:27am

Two local fishermen have filed suit against Golden Pass Pipeline, alleging the company's unburied pipeline caused them to sustain injuries after their boat ran over it.

David Higgins and Robert Hebert were in their boat on Keith Lake in Jefferson County on Nov. 26 between 4 and 5 a.m. when their boat struck the unmarked pipeline, according to the complaint filed Feb. 3 in Jefferson County District Court.

The suit names Golden Pass LNG LLC, Golden Pass LNG Terminal LLC and Golden Pass Pipeline as defendants.

"The danger of a boat colliding with the pipeline in question was reasonably foreseeable, in that the pipeline was not buried and was unmarked, unlighted, and therefore virtually invisible in the evening and early morning hours when boats would be reasonably expected to be on the water," the suit states.

Because of the incident, Higgins and Hebert claim they suffered serious personal injuries that resulted in physical impairment and disfigurement.

In addition, both men suffered physical and mental pain, suffering and anguish, according to the complaint.

Golden Pass was negligent by allowing an unburied pipeline to remain unmarked, by failing to warn Keith Lake users of the unburied pipeline, by failing to adhere to safety standards established for pipelines crossing public lakes and waterways, by failing to inspect the premises in order to discover the dangerous condition and by failing to correct the dangerous condition, the suit states.

Higgins and Herbert claim the company also negligently failed to warn the public that a dangerous condition existed.

The men are seeking a judgment in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court and unspecified exemplary damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest legal rate and other relief to which they are entitled.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D183-200

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