Offshore diver sues employer after suffering from 'the bends'

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Apr 4, 2013

GALVESTON - Alleging he was hurt during a surface air dive more than two years ago, Houston resident Dustin Gallard seeks damages.

A lawsuit filed March 27 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas targets Offshore Liftboats LLC, Hercules Offshore Inc. and his employer, Seamar Divers International LLC, for Gallard's purported injuries.

Gallard was a diver aboard the L/B Kylie, which is owned and operated by Offshore Liftboats and Hercules Offshore, at the time of the events in question.

According to the suit, on Nov. 7, 2010, he was hand jetting a trench on the bottom of the sea floor in an effort to allow access to buried portions of a cassion/pipe when he suffered decompression illness, commonly called "the bends." Gallard claims he sustained serious injuries.

It states that Seamar supervisors failed to comply with the basic principles of decompression diving as well as neglected to provide a safe diving stage.

The respondents are faulted for:

  • Failing to provide a safe place to work;

  • Failing to provide a proper training to its crew members on how to run a surface air dive;

  • Failing to properly train its crew members in the implementation of decompression treatment tables;

  • Failing to provide safe diving equipment; and

  • Failing to obtain proper medical care.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Matthew D. Shaffer of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris LLP in Houston is representing Gallard.

Case No. 3:13-CV-0090

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