A man who fell off a pickup truck while unloading cargo and landed on the deck of a ship is invoking the Jones Act and suing his employers.

The Jones Act is a federal statute that gives a sailor who suffers a personal injury in the course of employment the right to sue for damages.

Robert Payton Leggett, a North Carolina resident, is claiming his out-of-state employers, Global Towing Service and Mr. Jonah, Inc., were negligent in their duty to provide a safe place to work, according to the plaintiff's petition, which was filed on March 26 with a Jefferson County District Court.

Leggett was a crew member aboard the Mr. Jonah, a vessel owned by the defendants. On March 14, 2007, the vessel docked at the Port of Port Arthur, the petition said.

Leggett was performing his assigned duties, unloading cargo in the rain, when he slipped and fell to the ship. The petition said he slipped "due to the negligence of the defendants and/or the unseaworthiness of the vessel."

Because of the injuries he sustained, Leggett was rendered unfit for duty.

"Thus, the defendants are indebted to the petitioner for maintenance and cure benefits until he has fully recovered from his injuries, together with interest from the date of occurrence, a reasonable attorney's fee and all costs of these proceedings," the petition said.

Leggett is represented by Galveston attorney Christopher Bertini of Bertini and Associates, L.L.P.

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