Worker says transfer to platform during high winds caused serious injuries

Michelle Massey Jul. 12, 2010, 12:23pm

A scaffold builder has filed a Jones Act lawsuit, claiming he was injured while being moved to a platform during high winds.

Barry Miller filed suit against Port Eads, RP/PHL Marine Leasing and ENI U.S. Operating Co. June 28 in federal court in New Orleans.

Miller says the alleged incident happened in October 2009 while he was constructing scaffolding on a vessel. He says the defendants attempted to move him between scaffolding platforms using a personnel basket. Wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour allegedly caused the basket - with Miller inside - to be thrown against the ship's stairs. Miller says he suffered serious injuries.

ENI is accused of negligence for failing to provide Miller with a safe place to work or safe transportation to the platform, for ordering a personnel transfer under dangerous or risky conditions, failing to hire a competent boat company, failing to warn of a dangerous condition and using a defective crane.

Port Eads and RP Marine are accused of negligence for failing to provide a safe egress from the vessel to the platform, violation of general maritime duty of reasonable care, failure to properly position the vessel for personnel transfer and for allowing personnel transfer under conditions that posed a clear hazard to such personnel.

Miller is seeking damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of wages, impairment of earning capacity, medical expenses, permanent disability and scarring, punitive damages, interest and court costs.

Miller is represented by R. Joshua Koch of Koch & Schmidt in New Orleans and Evette E. Ungar of Ungar & Byrne in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv01849

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