Oilfield worker sues dirt work company after falling in mud

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 5, 2011, 1:50pm

LUFKIN - A Mississippi worker claims a muddy worksite in Livingston led to a severe back injury and has filed a lawsuit against the company responsible for the dirt work.

Gilmore Yeager filed suit against Petrohawk Energy Corp. on Sept. 1 in the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division.

The incident occurred on Sept. 3, 2009, while Yeager was working for Performance Drilling at a disposal well site located in Livingston. Yeager states that prior to his arriving at this worksite, the defendant performed dirt work in order to prepare the site for drilling.

He accuses Petrohawk of failing to completely and properly prepare the site in order to avoid additional costs and avoid delays. According to the allegations, the worksite had deep ruts and potholes and the process of drilling brought substantial amounts of fluid to the ground surface which created mud.

"The condition of the ground at the job site posed an unreasonable risk of harm to anyone walking over the ground," the lawsuit states.

When Yeager was ordered to get off of a forklift that became stuck in the mud, he claims his foot sank in the deep mud and he fell forward, injuring his back. He continued as his supervisor told him and attempted to pick up a tool but the tool was stuck in the mud and further aggravated the injury. According to the lawsuit, he had to undergo major lower back surgery and has not recovered from his injuries.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to properly prepare the site where the well was to be drilled so that water, mud, potholes and large ruts would not be created when the drilling work took place, failing to provide proper equipment, tools and training to perform water drainage and to move the mousepipe and instructing Yeager to engage in dangerous activity by directing him to get off the forklift in the muddy area, walk to the mousepipe and pick up the mousepipe without the proper equipment and tools.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical, mental, and emotional injuries, including physical impairment, physical pain, mental anguish, diminished earning capacity, medical expenses, loss of household services, interest, and court costs.

Yeager is represented by George Chandler and Kirk Mathis of Chandler, Mathis & Zivley in Lufkin. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 9:11-cv-00146

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