Workers sue contractor over scaffold collapse at cathedral

Kelly Holleran Jan. 27, 2010, 8:37am

St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica

Two men working on a scaffold at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica in Beaumont claim they were injured when the contractor removed two of the scaffold's supporting legs and it collapsed.

Clifton Davis and Robert Moore claim they were working for BETCO Scaffolding when defendant H.B. Neild and Sons hired BETCO to complete work in St. Anthony on Jan. 26, 2009.

"On that same day, H.B. Neild directed that two of the four supporting legs of the scaffold be removed," the suit states. "This placed the scaffold in an unsafe, dangerous, and hazardous condition, which led to its collapse while the Plaintiffs were on it."

Because of their fall, the plaintiffs incurred medical costs; experienced great physical pain, suffering, mental anguish and physical impairment; and lost earnings and their earning capacity, according to the complaint.

H.B. Neild was guilty of negligence because it failed to use ordinary care to protect contractors from work-related hazards, failed to properly supervise the workplace, failed to take precautions to protect the safety of others and failed to warn of an unsafe condition, the complaint says.

In addition, Davis and Moore allege vicarious liability against the company because they say it failed to control its workers as a prudent corporation would, directed that two supporting legs on the scaffolding be removed, failed to warn them that the scaffolding had been removed and required them to perform unsafe work.

Davis and Moore are seeking an unspecified judgment, plus costs, interest and other relief the court deems just.

James E. Payne, Jennifer Job Seale and Kendall Cockrell of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A185-788.

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