Seaman sues over shower fall during barge collision

Kelly Holleran Mar. 9, 2009, 9:50am

Cedric McAfee has filed suit against Kirby Inland Marine and Bean's Fleet, alleging he was injured after the boat on which he was working slammed into another barge.

According to the complaint filed March 2 in Jefferson County District Court, as McAfee was attempting to enter the shower on the "Palo Duro" on March 6, 2006, the vessel collided with a stationary barge.

During the collision, McAfee claims he was "violently thrown against the wall of the vessel's shower, causing injuries to his shoulder and low back and other parts of his body," the suit states.

McAfee alleges the collision occurred because the boat's captain was writing in the log instead of focusing on the waterway ahead, even though the "Palo Duro" was running at night without lights.

Because of the incident, McAfee experienced physical pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life and incurred medical costs, according to the complaint.

He claims he also lost wages, lost his future earning capacity and suffered physical impairment.

Kirby Inland Marine was negligent by breaching a legally imposed duty of care, by failing to provide McAfee with a safe place to work, by creating and maintaining an unseaworthy vessel, by failing to properly warn McAfee of danger, by failing to activate lights on the boat and through the captain who improperly operated the vessel, McAfee alleges.

Bean's Fleet is negligent for having a ship extended into the channel used for navigation, the suit alleges. Bean's Fleet also negligently breached its duty of reasonable care, failed to have fleet lights at the corners of the barge and failed to provide warning to the "Palo Duro" of the location of the ship with which it collided, according to the complaint.

McAfee is seeking an unspecified judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

He will be represented by Bristol Baxley of Rome, Arata and Baxley in Pearland.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Case No. B183-403

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