Rigger slips on grease buildup on pilings

Michelle Massey Jun. 9, 2010, 8:19am

A former employee is suing Premier Industries, accusing the company of failing to recognize dangerous working conditions on an ocean barge.

Renard Richard filed the lawsuit May 28 in federal court in New Orleans. Richard says he was working on a barge and was trying to climb a high stack of pilings when he slipped and fell. He blames the slip on a buildup of mud and grease on the pilings. Richard claims he severely injured his knee during the fall.

The incident happened Oct. 17, 2009, in Lake Washington near Plaquemines, La. Court documents indicate the pilings were recently extracted from the seafloor and that the extraction caused the buildup of mud and grease.

The seaman is accusing Premier Industries of failing to properly train its employees to recognize and avoid hazards, failing to provide adequate communication between master and crew, failing to provide adequate crew for tasks, failing to warn of potential hazards and failing to properly clean the buildup of slippery material on the work barge. Premier Industries is also accused of failing to exercise safe piling stacking procedures, including negligence for stacking the pilings to an unsafe level and then requiring Richard to climb on the pilings to disengage the rigging.

Richard is seeking damages for loss of wages and fringe benefits, physical and mental pain and suffering, permanent disability and loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, loss of found, scarring and disfigurement, maintenance and cure, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees and costs.

Baton Rouge attorneys Henri M. Saunders and Scotty E. Chabert, Jr. are representing Richard.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv01602

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