Family of deceased worker files wrongful death suit against ship owner

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Nov 10, 2011

GALVESTON - The family of an Illinois man who died from injuries sustained during a fall on a ship more than six months ago have filed a lawsuit against the ship's owner.

In a lawsuit filed Oct. 26 against Granite Construction Co. in Galveston County District Court, Angelica Rocio Hernandez Velasquez and Angelica Marlene Fonseca Hernandez, both of Mexico, allege Benjamin Fonseca Torres was fatally injured last March 2 aboard a vessel belonging to Granite.

Velasquez is the decedent's legal spouse while Hernandez is one of his natural children. Fonseca Torres and Velasquez's four minor children are also plaintiffs in the case.

Recent court documents show Granite loaned Fonseca Torres, a scrap burner, from Patrick Michael Group Inc. to work on one of its ships.

Fonseca Torres was performing an unspecified task when a crane on the vessel became overloaded and caused the crane's boom to collapse and strike the manlift in which the decedent and his co-worker were stationed, the original petition says.

It claims the two men fell approximately 30 feet to the barge deck below.

"Fonseca Torres suffered consciously before he died," the suit says.

Granite is faulted for failing to properly supervise its crew, failing to properly train its employees, failing to provide a safe workplace environment for the decedent, failing to warn, failing to provide proper safety equipment, operating the vessel with an inadequate crew, failing to ensure that the crane was not overloaded and failing to secure said crane to the vessel deck.

Consequently, the plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

They are represented by Denena & Points.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox.

Case No. 11-cv-1698

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