Galveston seaman seeks $1M after being thrown from truck bed during collision

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 24, 2009, 2:00pm

GALVESTON � A Galveston seaman seeks an excess of $1 million in damages from his employer and a Virginia woman after being thrown from the bed of a truck during a collision.

Richard Mendez's personal injury lawsuit accuses William Wright of Galveston, who is doing business as A&B Seafood, and Alva Porterfield of Newport, Va., of negligence, blaming the defendants for what he describes as severe and disabling injuries.

The suit was filed in Galveston County District Court on June 15.

Mendez worked as a Jones Act deckhand for Wright on the Alice Mae, a commercial fishing boat.

Court papers say the plaintiff was aboard the Alice Mae on Dec. 9, when the vessel encountered inclement weather and was forced to return to Galveston after four days at sea.

Mendez, who was instructed to come back to the Alice Mae once the skies cleared, secured a ride home upon arrival.

The pickup truck in which the plaintiff rode collided with an automobile driven by Porterfield, the suit says.

"Ms. Porterfield failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign," according to the original petition.

Mendez states he was subsequently thrown from the bed of the pickup truck thus sustained injuries to his head, ribs, left shoulder, left elbow, back, and left wrist.

The suit faults Wright for failing to ensure the plaintiff had safe transport to and from the Alice Mae and impugns Porterfield for disobeying local traffic laws.

Despite getting hurt, Mendez was subject to immediate recall.

"Mr. Wright is also responsible for Mr. Mendez's maintenance and cure," the suit says. "To date, Mr. Wright has made no payment in this regard despite written demand."

Mendez claims to have suffered pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, disability, and disfigurement because of the alleged accident.

In addition to the $1,000,000, he demands punitive damages from Wright.

Houston attorney John C. Cunningham is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV0981

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