Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 6, 2012, 3:31pm

A Rosenberg truck driver has filed a lawsuit that claims he was rendered permanently blind when a bungee cord snapped and hit him in the eye.

Abe Coffman filed the lawsuit against Dole Fresh Fruit Co. and Chevron Port Arthur Lubrication Plant on Aug. 31, 2011 in Jefferson County District Court. The defendants removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division on Aug. 27.

The incident occurred on April 25, 2011, as Coffman was working as a contract driver for M.C. Trucking and contracted to haul Dole trailers. As he was leaving from Chevron in Port Arthur with a loaded trailer, one of the trailer tires had a blow out.

He placed the blown tire in the storage cage under the trailer. Several miles later, another tire on the trailer blew out, according to the suit.

Coffman states he was forced to secure the tire on top of the trailer using Dole’s bungee cord. While attempting to secure the tire, one of the bungee cords snapped and struck Coffman in the eye, permanently blinding him, the suit claims.

Dole is accused of negligence for failing to properly inspect the subject trailer, failing to provide adequate storage areas on the subject trailer, failing to provide adequate devices to secure its tire carcasses to the subject trailer and for providing a defective or inadequate bungee cord to Coffman.

Chevron is accused of negligence for failing to properly inspect the subject trailer, in allowing a trailer that was not properly inspected to leave its facility, failing to identify trailer tires that were improperly inflated and for improperly loading the subject tire.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for physical pain and mental anguish, lost earnings, damage to earning capacity, disfigurement, physical impairment, medical expenses, property damage, interest, exemplary damages and court costs.

Coffman is represented by Matthew C. Matheny of Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:12-cv-00420

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