David Yates Jul. 14, 2015, 9:50am


Nautical Solutions recently answered a Jones Act claim alleging a lose board made a vessel unseaworthy, taking special exception to the plaintiff’s negligence claim.

Plaintiff Carl Hite filed his suit March 10 in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show that on May 18 Nautical Solutions answered the claim, asserting a general denial and taking special exception to the complaint because Hite “asserts a claim of negligence, but has not pleaded sufficient facts to put defendant on notice of how defendant was allegedly negligent.”

According to the original petition, on Aug. 1, 2014, Hite was a member of a crew aboard a vessel traveling in navigable waters when he hurt his knee.

The captain had ordered him to go to the back of the vessel and retrieve some equipment. While completing the task, Hite “stepped on a lose board, which slipped out from under him.”

The suit alleges Hite hurt his knee due to the vessel’s unseaworthiness and further accuses OFV of negligently failing to train its employees and maintain a safe work environment.

Hite also contends he is entitled to recover punitive damages because the actions of the defendant were “grossly negligent,” alleging the defendant company knew of the dangerous condition but did nothing to rectify the matter and instead ordered employees to continue working.

Nautical Solutions alleges that an award of punitive damages would violate its constitutional rights.

In addition to punitive damages, Hite seeks damages for his alleged pain, mental anguish, impairment, disfigurement and medical expenses.

Attorney Kurt Arnold of the Houston firm Arnold & Itkin represents him.

Nautical Solutions is represented by Marc Matthews, attorney for the Houston law firm Phelps Dunbar.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. E196-834

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