Defendants force mentally challenged man to amend petition for sixth time

David Yates May 5, 2011, 10:21am


Defendants in a personal injury suit have forced a mentally challenged plaintiff to amend his petition for the sixth time.

As previously reported, James Anderson filed suit against Virgil and Rodney Martel on Oct. 15, 2009, in Jefferson County District Court.

The Rev. Gary Cantue has been designated his guardian ad litem.

On April 19 the Martels' filed a notice taking special exceptions to Anderson's fifth amended petition.

They argued the petition was not clear on premises liability.

Two weeks later, Anderson filed his sixth amended petition on May 2, stating Virgil Martel was the owner of the property where the incident occurred.

In his suit, Anderson claims he was performing yard work at the Martels' property on June 23, 2009, when he heard activity coming from a structure on the property.

Anderson entered the structure and began speaking with Kevin Martel, a 15-year-old relative of Virgil and Rodney Martel, who was welding a handle onto a vessel, court records show.

Court records show the vessel had previously contained diesel or some other fuel and was not properly cleaned and not prepared for welding, causing it to explode and catch on fire.

"Plaintiff alleges that the vessel exploded and that such explosion was a proximate cause of catastrophic injuries to the Plaintiff," the complaint says.

Anderson is suing to recover medical expenses and damages for his alleged mental anguish.

Tommy L. Yeates and Anthony Malley III of Moore Landrey in Beaumont represent him.

Germer Gertz attorney Larry Simmons of Beaumont represents Virgil Martel.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is presiding over the case.

Case No. E185-134

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