Seaman sues vessel operator for fall through grate

By Carol Ostrow | Jun 9, 2015


A Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana resident brought a lawsuit against a pair of Delaware firms for alleged negligence in 2014.

Brianell Duncan filed against Gulfmark Offshore Inc. and Gulfmark Americas Inc., doing business in Harris County, in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas June 4, claiming liability in a December 2014 workplace incident.

Marcus Spagnoletti  

According to the suit, Duncan was assigned to a marine vessel owned and operated by the defendants. The complaint states that when the seaman stepped on a grate located on a mud tank on or about Dec. 14, 2014, he fell into a hole because the grate was allegedly improperly secured.

Duncan alleges back, neck, leg and general body injuries and cites the defendants with negligence in their failure to provide a safe workplace; maintain the vessel and his equipment in a reasonable state of repair; take precautions for the plaintiff’s safety; and warn him of known and/or existing hazards.

Citing pain, suffering, mental anguish; impairment and discomfort; lost wages and earning capacity, and medical expenses, Duncan maintains that he is entitled to maintenance and cure under the Jones Act and that the defendants have willfully denied coverage.

The plaintiff seeks compensation for punitive damages, maintenance and cure, pre- and post-judgment interest; attorney’s fees; expenses, and costs. The plaintiff is represented by Marcus Spagnoletti of Spagnoletti & Co. in Houston.

Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number 3:15-cv-00141

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