Sunken crane leads to lawsuit

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 17, 2010

A Louisiana company claims it incurred substantial costs after a crane and man-lift it leased sunk.

Rectec filed a lawsuit Feb. 10 in Jefferson County District Court against Signal International and Fireman's Fund Insurance Company.

Rectec claims it leased a crane and man-lift on Aug. 20. Under an oral agreement, Rectec agreed to allow defendant Signal to use the leased crane and man-lift at its dry dock in Port Arthur.

While Signal used the machine, someone left a valve open at the dry dock, which allowed it to sink. That resulted in the sinking and total loss of the crane and man-lift, according to the complaint.

At the time of the incident, Fireman's insured Rectec for a commercial general liability policy, which should have been effective until March 1, 2010, and should have covered the cost of the crane and man-lift loss, the suit states.

However, when Rectec informed Fireman's of the loss on Aug. 24, it refused to pay for the machines, the complaint says.

Rectec alleges breach of lease, breach of bailment and negligence against Signal and breach of contract and negligence against Fireman's.

Rectec seeks economic and actual damages in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limit of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, costs and other relief the court deems just.

John E.W. Baay II, Connie L. Hawkins and Lauren C. Cancienne of Gieger, Laborde and Laperouse in Houston will be representing it.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D185-890.

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