Seaman injured in fall from bunk bed claims no one at ship's helm

Kelly Holleran Aug. 4, 2009, 10:23am

A Port Arthur man has filed suit against his former employer, alleging he fell out of his bunk bed while working on a fishing vessel after the boat hit a barge.

Christopher Loc Nguyen claims he was an employee of defendant Sanh Hong Le and worked on Le's fishing vessel, The Jennifer and David.
Nguyen claims that on Dec. 18 the fishing boat hit a barge and a tug boat owned by co-defendant Gulf Oceanic Marine Contractors Inc.

"On the occasion in question, Plaintiff was in one of the bunks when the collision occurred with such force and violence that Plaintiff was thrown from the bunk, causing Plaintiff serious injuries," the suit states.

According to the complaint filed July 30 in Jefferson County District Court, no one was at the helm of The Jennifer and David at the time of the collision. In addition, there were no rails on the bunk beds where employees were sleeping.

Because of the collision, Nguyen claims he suffered physical pain and mental anguish, lost his earnings and earning capacity and sustained physical impairment.

He blames Le for failing to keep a proper lookout, for failing to yield the right-of-way, for failing to have anyone at the helm of The Jennifer and David and for failing to provide rails on the bunks for the crew.

The plaintiff alleges that Gulf Oceanic Marine Contractors negligently failed to yield the right-of-way, failed to activate running lights on the barge, failed to keep a proper lookout, drove too fast for conditions and failed to exercise ordinary care.

Nguyen is seeking a judgment in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

He is represented by William G. Neumann Jr., Gene Hagood and John B. Huckeba of Hagood, Neumann and Huckeba in Alvin.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E184-592.

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