Suit says coworkers should have held ladder for Rowan employee

By David Yates | Jan 22, 2008

Clay Dugas

Seaman Filberto Espinoza broke several bones in his body when he fell off a 25-foot ladder. He is blaming his employer, Rowan Companies, for the fall, claiming the drilling rig company failed to instruct his co-workers to hold the ladder while he worked.

Espinoza filed a personal injury lawsuit against Rowan in the Jefferson County District Court on Jan. 18.

According to the plaintiff's petition, on July 30, 2005, Espinoza was a crew member aboard a moveable drilling called the Charles Rowan.

"While the Charles Rowan was engaged in navigation and commerce, plaintiff was instructed to put grease on the inside of a tank on the rig and was required to use a 25-foot ladder," the suit said.

"Defendant failed to provide adequate support and failed to (supply) personnel to support the ladder, causing plaintiff to fall 15-17 feet. As a result of the fall, plaintiff sustained a broken leg, broken right hand, broken pelvis, broken teeth, eye injury and neck pain."

The suit continues by alleging Rowan was negligent for failing to provide a safe place to work, provide proper training, tools and equipment, provide proper supervision and provide adequate help.

"Plaintiff's injuries were caused by the defendant's breach of its absolute duty to furnish a seaworthy vessel," the suit said. "The Charles Rowan was unseaworthy because it did not have a sufficient ladder and had an incompetent crew."

The suit goes on to say Rowan breached its duty to provide Espinoza with maintenance and cure.
"Plaintiff was unable to work for a substantial period of time following his injury, and has not made any payments. Defendant has not paid or authorized payment of reasonable medical expenses."

Espinoza is suing for lost earnings, impairment, mental anguish and medical expenses.

His represented by Beaumont attorney Clay Dugas.

According to its' Web site, Rowan Companies Inc. is a major provider of international and domestic contract drilling services. Rowan also owns and operates a manufacturing division that produces equipment for the drilling, mining and timber industries. "Our manufacturing division built the first jack-up drilling rig in 1955 and has designed or built more than 200 rigs since, including all 21 in our fleet."

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.


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