Seaman hit by sledge hammer plans to settle Jones Act suit

David Yates Feb. 1, 2010, 8:26am


A week before his trial was to start, a Mississippi seaman said he intends to settle his personal injury lawsuit against Rowan Companies.

As the Southeast Texas Record reported in August 2008, Nicky Hutson filed suit against his employer after being bonked on the head with a sledge hammer by a fellow shipmate. He claimed the company negligently failed to supervise its employees.

The trial was slated to begin Feb. 8. However, on Monday, Feb. 1 the parties called the office of presiding Jefferson County Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, and reported that the parties had reached a tentative settlement.

Case background

Court papers show that on May 23, 2007, Hutson was employed by Rowan as a Jones Act Seaman aboard the vessel Bob Palmer, located in Sabine Pass.

"Hutson experienced an accident which resulted in serious painful injuries to his head and other parts of his body while employed by Rowan and while being supervised by Rowan," the suit says.

"Specifically, another employee struck Hutson on the head with a sledge hammer causing him to sustain a closed head injury."

In his complaint, Hutson claims Rowan is negligent for failing to properly supervise its crew and provide adequate safety equipment.

"Defendant acted with flagrant and malicious disregard of Plaintiff's health and safety. Defendant was subjectively aware of the extreme risk posed by the conditions which caused Plaintiff's injury, but did nothing to rectify them."

Hutson is represented by Kurt Arnold, a partner in the Arnold & Itkin law firm.

Rowan is represented in part by attorney Karen Bennett.

Case No. D182-232

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