Suit over broken hip and ankle removed to federal court

David Yates Aug. 26, 2013, 4:13pm

A Beaumont man claiming he fractured his hip and ankle after tripping over protruding pieces of cement had his case removed to federal court.

As previously reported, Vernon Booker filed a lawsuit May 16 in Jefferson County District Court against APAC-Texas, C.S.C. and GHS. 

Court records show a notice of removal was filed June 26.

The case is now in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

In his suit, Booker claims he was driving his dump truck to APAC-Texas located on Pine Street in Beaumont to pick up a load of asphalt. While he was waiting for his vehicle to be loaded, Booker parked his vehicle in the APAC yard. However, in the yard were certain tripping hazards.

“Among other obstructions, there were protruding pieces of cement that posed a tripping hazard in the APAC yard,” the complaint says. “Plaintiff tripped over one of the pieces of protruding cement, causing him to fall and to sustain serious injuries.”

In addition to his fractured body parts, Booker claims he suffered from a ruptured disc in his neck and in his lower back and lost earnings. He also incurred medical costs; experienced pain, suffering and mental anguish; and endured physical impairment, according to the complaint.

Following the incident, Booker attempted to collect workers’ compensation benefits from C.S.C. Before his injuries, Booker had been paying C.S.C. $25 per week for an occupational accident and injury policy from GHS, the suit states.

Under the policy, Booker was paid some benefits, but not all to which he was entitled, the complaint says.

“Defendants GHS, Chaney, and C.S.C. arbitrarily changed the method by which they calculated the benefits to be paid to plaintiff,” the suit states. “Plaintiff would show that the actions of these defendants breached the contract of insurance that they had with plaintiff.”

Booker blames APAC-Texas for causing his injuries, saying it negligently failed to maintain a safe work place, failed to maintain a parking area free from obstructions, failed to warn of dangerous obstructions in the parking lot and failed to direct Booker to park in a safe area.

Booker seeks treble and exemplary damages, plus attorneys’ fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Steven C. Barkley of Beaumont represents him.

Jefferson County District Court Case No. D194-347

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