$4.8M verdict levied against seafood company for man's death

By David Yates | Jun 20, 2011


A Jefferson County jury recently awarded a plaintiff more than $4.8 million in damages in a wrongful death trial against Van Dyke's Chesapeake Seafood.

As previously reported, Sidnitra Bias filed suit against Gulf Harvest Seafood and Van Dyke's on behalf of the late Sidney Carroll Prevost Jr. in December 2008, alleging the companies caused Prevost's death by failing to provide him with medical care after he was injured.

The case went to trial on June 1 in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court. A final judgment was entered on June 15.

Prevost died Sept. 27, 2008, while working for Van Dyke's as a temporary worker, according to court records.

The 47-year-old Prevost hit his head at the facility and asked to be taken to the hospital. Instead, the company allegedly told Prevost to lie down in the break room.

During the trial, the plaintiff argued no one went to check on Prevost, and he was later found dead in the room.

"Mr. Prevost's death could have been prevented by the slightest degree of care on the part of (defendants)," the lawsuit states. "However, not only did they fail in rendering the care, they were consciously indifferent to Mr. Prevost's condition."

The day before the start of the trial, the plaintiff filed a motion in limine asking the court to forbid any testimony that Prevost "had cocaine in his system on the date of his death," court papers say.

"There has been no expert retained to casually link any cocaine use to Prevost's injuries or death," the motion states. "Thus, any testimony as to the same would be irrelevant and prejudicial."

Court records show that even though the trial is over, the motion is still pending and was never officially granted by Floyd.

Jurors found that Van Dyke's negligence contributed to Prevost's death, awarding Bias $4.6 million for his loss of companionship and mental anguish.

An additional $229,727.83 was awarded to the Prevost state.

Kurt B. Arnold, Michael E. Pierce and Paul Skrabanek of Arnold and Itkin in Houston represent the plaintiff.

Port Arthur attorney Brandon Monk represents the defendant.

Case No. E182-883

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