Suit alleging barge inspector thrown from gangway ordered to mediation

David Yates Oct. 14, 2015, 1:53pm


A suit brought by Michael Stelly, who claims he stepped onto a gangway that gave way and nearly tossed him into the water after finishing his barge inspection, was recently brought up for trial but instead has been ordered to mediation.

On March 4, 2013, Stelly filed suit against OilTanking of Beaumont, Amspec Services and Harley Marine in Jefferson County district Court.

The case was slated to go to trial on Oct. 5.

However, court records show that on Oct. 9 an order on referral to mediation was signed by Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Dan Ducote has been appointed as the mediator, the order states.

According to the original petition, on Oct. 14, 2012, Stelly, an Ampec employee, was dispatched to inspect a barge owned by Harley Marine for the loading of cargo from OilTanking.

“After completing the inspection, Mr. Stelly began to leave the barge using the gangway,” the suit states. “Upon stepping on the gangway, it gave way sliding out from under him and to the side throwing him off onto the deck of the barge and almost in the river between the barge and deck.”

The suit accused Harley and OilTanking of negligently failing to provide a safe working environment and failing to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.

Ampec was accused of engaging in fraudulent statements in regards to his worker’s compensation claim and terminating him without filing the claim when representing it would.

Court records show that on May 14 OilTanking filed a fourth amended answer, stating that it did not own the barge and that Stelly did not exercise reasonable care in looking out for his own safety.

Stelly is suing for his alleged past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment and lost wages, plus all court costs.

Beaumont attorney David Bernsen represents him.

Case No. E194-114

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