Seaman sues fishing company after boat capsizes

By Kelly Holleran | May 5, 2009

Christopher Bertini

An Alabama man is suing the company that owned a boat he was working on when it capsized.

Willie Sigler filed a lawsuit May 1 in Jefferson County District Court against Omega Protein Inc.

The complaint says Sigler was hired by Omega to work as a seaman on the F/V Galveston Bay and/or one of its purse boats on Sept. 5, 2007. Houston-based Omega Protein maintains a fleet of fishing vessels and plants for production of fatty acid supplements.

As Sigler was performing his assigned duties in navigable waters in the Gulf of Mexico, the purse boat on which he was riding capsized, causing him severe and disabling injuries, the complaint says.

Due to the incident, Sigler incurred medical costs, experienced past and future physical pain, suffering, physical impairment, loss of earnings, loss of household services, disfigurement and mental anguish, the complaint says.

Sigler claims the boat overturned because it was not seaworthy and because Omega employees failed to carry out their duties and responsibilities.

Sigler says he was not paid maintenance and cure benefits, which he was due after the accident.

"As a result, plaintiff has had to endure additional and unnecessary pain and suffering and possible worsening of his physical condition," the suit states.

Included in the suit is a request for discovery.

Sigler is seeking an unspecified judgment, plus attorneys' fees, pre-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

Joshua L. Rubenstein of Scheuermann and Jones in New Orleans and Christopher D. Bertini of Bertini and Associates in Galveston will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E183-937.

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