Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 14, 2012, 4:32pm

TYLER - The family of a deceased worker, who suffered fatal injuries when he was struck in the head by an over-pressurized ball valve, has filed a lawsuit that claims his employer failed to provide a safe place to work.

Lula Nell Ivey, individually and as representative of the estate of Richard Lee Tondreau, deceased, and as next friend of four minors, filed suit against Helmerich & Payne Inc., Hammond Valve Co., and Sunnda Corp. individually and doing business as Triplex Mud Pumps on March 5 in Panola County District Court. The defendants removed the case to the Eastern of Texas, Tyler Division on Sept. 10.

The incident occurred April 24, 2010, while Tondreau was working as a drilling rig operator by operating a 5000 psi PZL-11 Triplex drilling mud pump to pump water through the line. According to the lawsuit, he suffered fatal injures when he was struck in the head by an over pressurized 600 psi Hammond ball valve.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards, failure to provide reasonable rules and regulations for the safe conduct of work, failing to properly train, supervise or instruct its employees and supervisors in a reasonable and safe manner regarding the operations in existence at the defendant’s premises and of management and supervision of employees, and for the failure to initiate and maintain adequate management, supervision and safety programs.

Ivey is asking for an award of financial and emotional damages, interest, court costs and exemplary damages.

The plaintiff is represented by Reese P. Andrews of Andrews & Andrews of Nacogdoches.

U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:12-cv-00615

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