Judge considering dismissal of United Scaffolding from injury suit

David Yates Jan. 12, 2010, 5:57am

While working near a scaffold, Louie Meiers, a Performance Contractors employee, was allegedly injured when a co-worker inadvertently pushed a 4-by-4 board off the scaffold's walkway and struck him.

A year after the incident, Meiers filed suit against United Scaffolding, the suppliers and builders of the scaffold, and Valero Energy, which owns the refinery where Meiers was injured.

At a Jan. 11 hearing, defendant United Scaffolding asked Jefferson County 58th District Court Judge Bob Wortham to grant a summary judgment in its favor, arguing that there is no evidence that the company breached any duty owed to Meiers.

Judge Wortham declined to craft an order on the issue but did say he would take United Scaffolding's summary judgment motion "under advisement."

Court papers show that on May 31, 2006, Meiers and his fellow Performance employees were working at the Valero refinery in Jefferson County.

"While performing his job duties, his co-worker pushed a ... 4-by-4 board owned by Performance ... off a walkway, which struck plaintiff," court papers say.

Meiers' suit alleges that United Scaffolding was negligent in not placing guards on the walkway to prevent the 4-by-4 from being pushed off.

However, in its motion for summary judgment, United Scaffolding argues that there is no evidence that it "had a duty to place toe boards on the walkway or clean up after Performance."

"Specifically, there is no evidence to support the ... plaintiff's allegations that the 'scaffolding posed an unreasonable risk of harm' or that it 'knew of the danger.'"

No time frame was given on when or if Judge Wortham would rule on the matter.

Meiers is seeking damages for past and future mental anguish, pain, lost wages and medical expenses.

He is represented by Beaumont attorney Clay Dugas.

United Scaffolding is represented in part by Mehaffy Weber attorney Kathleen Kennedy.

Case No. A178-592

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