Seaman falls on knife, claims vessel not seaworthy

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Jul 7, 2009

Jack Todd Ivey

GALVESTON – Claiming he was seriously hurt three years ago while preparing a dish, a Harris County seaman is suing three Louisiana-based companies and a jack-up rig in Galveston County District Court.

Michael Robinson's personal injury lawsuit, filed under the Jones Act on July 1, says the plaintiff was in the midst of a meal break on July 2, 2006, when he experienced a fall in the galley of the M/V Nicole Eymard.

He attributes the alleged incident to the mobile platform in rem, Coastal Catering LLC, Offshore Marine Contractors Inc. and Offshore Marine Inc.

"The defendants owed the plaintiff a duty to furnish him a safe place to work and a seaworthy vessel and, as applied to the plaintiff, the defendants failed in those respects because of the unseaworthiness of the vessel in question, which caused and resulted in the injuries and damages sustained by the plaintiff," the original petition states.

According to court papers, Robinson tripped on a 1/8-inch thick mat just as he fixed a meal. He reportedly held a knife in his right hand.

"The plaintiff's fall caused extensive injuries to his abdominal area," the suit says.

Robinson insists he did nothing to bring about the accident.

"At all times herein, the plaintiff (Michael Robinson) was conducting himself as an ordinarily reasonable and prudent person would have done under the same or similar circumstances," the complaint says.

Robinson adds the defendants unsuccessfully remedied the medical situation thereafter.

"The plaintiff would show that the defendants failed in those respects to properly pay him maintenance and cure," the suit says.

It ultimately blames the defendants for failing to warn Robinson of any potential hazards aboard the Nicole Eymard and neglecting to inspect the rig's equipment to determine if it is fit for duty.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks damages for pain and suffering, impairment and limitation of activities, disfigurement, mental anguish, medical expenses, and losses of wages and household services.

He is represented by Houston attorney Jack Todd Ivey.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss.

Case No. 09CV1109

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