Hercules Drilling answers offshore rig injury suit

David Yates Jan. 7, 2011, 2:22am


Hercules Drilling recently answered the second amended petition filed by Hardin County resident Ashley McNeal, who claims his left knee became seriously injured after a cable snapped and struck him while he performed work on a boat.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, McNeal and his wife Neely filed a lawsuit Dec. 10, 2009, in Jefferson County District Court against Belle Pass Towing Corp., South Bayou Marine, Hercules Offshore and Hercules Assets.

McNeal filed his second amended petition Dec. 13, 2010, adding Hercules Drilling as a defendant, court records show.

On Dec. 22, Hercules Drilling answered the suit, asserting a general denial and demanding a take-nothing judgment be rendered in its favor.

Case background

According to the petition, McNeal claims he was injured while working for R&R Marine in Jefferson County at Sabine Yard on Dec. 12, 2007.

Prior to the incident, Hercules Offshore hired R&R Marine to perform a survey of a Hercules 260 rig owned by Hercules Assets. However, before the survey could be performed, the Hercules 260 rig had to be placed in a certain position.

Hercules Offshore directed Ashley McNeal to assist in positioning the Hercules 260 rig at the dock at Sabine Yard for its survey, the complaint says.

"In order to accomplish this task, a push boat and two tug boats were needed," the suit states. "However, the push boat was either not ordered or did not show up. Regardless, the representative of Hercules Offshore directed Ashley McNeal to utilize the two tug boats to spin the Hercules rig into position to bring it back to the dock."

While attempting to unhook a cable, McNeal tried to direct the drivers of the tug boats to let off the throttle of the tug boats, which would slacken the cable. However, the drivers of the tug boats instead accelerated, causing the cable to tighten, the suit states.

"As this occurred, the line whipped up where Ashley McNeal was located, and came into contact with his leg, resulting in severe and substantial injuries," the complaint says.

"As a result of the tug boat taking the incorrect action and causing the cable to tighten, Ashley McNeal suffered numerous physical injuries including the tearing of numerous ligaments in his left knee. Ashley McNeal underwent numerous surgeries and suffered tremendously as a result of the injuries, surgeries, and rehabilitation."

The McNeals seek actual damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Marc J. Wojciechowski and Malcolm D. Dishongh of Wojciechowski and Associates in Spring represent the McNeals.

Hercules Drilling is represented by Houston attorney David Bland.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, presiding.

Case No. E185-462

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