Jones Act suit claims heavy lifting caused back injury

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 12, 2011, 2:11pm

GALVESTON - A ship worker has filed a lawsuit alleging he injured his back while moving heavy equipment.

La Marque resident Joseph Caligone claims he fell March 19 as he was transporting fire extinguishers between decks on the Deep Ocean Ascension, a deep water drill ship.

Caligone filed a Jones Act lawsuit against Gulf Copper GP, Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corp. and Pride International Inc. on Aug. 31 in Galveston County District Court.

Gulf Copper employed the plaintiff while Pride owned, operated and maintained the Ascension.

According to court documents, the extinguishers which Caligone carried weighed 50 pounds.

The complainant says the Ascension is separated by various steep stairs and stairways, but the defendants failed to properly equip the vessel with the proper and safe equipment to move heavy materials between decks.

"Consequently, Mr. Caligone was required to carry the heavy equipment while negotiating stairs between decks," the original petition says.

"While maneuvering between decks transporting the heavy equipment, Mr. Caligone fell down the stairway severely injuring his back."

The plaintiff was airlifted from the vessel to an onshore hospital.

He is continuing to receive medical treatment, the suit says.

Caligone seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorneys Alton C. Todd of Friendswood and Sherry Scott Chandler of Houston are representing the plaintiff.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

Case No. 11-cv-1394

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