Captain blames fall on wake from speeding ship

By Kelly Holleran | May 3, 2010

Enrique Serna

The captain of a ship claims he tumbled down a flight of stairs after another ship cruised by at an unreasonably fast rate of speed.

Edward Haltom filed a lawsuit April 23 in Jefferson County District Court against Latex Construction Co.

Haltom claims he was aboard the "Lisa S," a ship owned by Latex, on Oct. 20, 2008, and was performing his usual work duties when he sustained severe injuries to his head, neck, back and other parts of his body after falling.

"Captain Haltom was at the top of the stairs to the wheel house, when the 'Lisa S' was hit by excessive wake which effectively slammed him down the stairway," the suit states.

"This wake was caused by another of Defendants' vessels traveling at an excessive rate of speed. Defendants were previously warned or sited for operating support vessels at excessive speeds in the areas where they were working."

Because of his fall, Haltom suffered physical pain and mental anguish, lost wages and lost his capacity to work and earn money, incurred medical costs, suffered permanent physical impairment and lost his ability to perform household services, according to the complaint.

Latex Construction is obligated to provide Haltom with maintenance and benefits because of his fall, but have denied him payments, the complaint says.

Haltom blames the company for causing his fall, saying it failed to keep a proper speed for its vessel and failed to have a duly licensed and authorized captain on board the speeding vessel.

In his complaint, Haltom seeks a judgment of $950,000, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

Enrique G. Serna and Daniel E. Serna of Serna and Associates in San Antonio will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B186-663.

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