Mud Lake environmental workers sue after being covered in oil

Michelle Massey Aug. 10, 2010, 3:47pm

Two workers helping with environmental response teams at the scene of an oil spill near Mud Lake have filed personal injury suits.

Maurice Chiasson filed suit against Cedyco Corp., Ashland Services Inc., Cvitanovic Boat Service Inc., ES & H Inc., and/or ES & H Turnaround Service Inc. and State of Louisiana through Department of Natural Resources on July 29 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the complaint, on July 27, a tug boat collided with an orphaned wellhead near Mud Lake, while transiting northbound in the Barataria Waterway. The collision caused a mixture of water, natural gas and oil to spew into the air. Environmental response teams were immediately called to the area to remediate the damages.

Chiasson was a deckhand on a flatboat which was laying boom as part of the environmental clean-up of the oil spill. He claims he sustained respiratory and eye injuries.

Jefferson Parish resident Leo Williams filed a similar lawsuit against the defendants, plus Ashland Services, claiming he is suffering from "injuries to his head after becoming covered in oil."

Cvitanovic Boat is accused of failing to maintain its tow properly, failing to maintain a proper lookout and failing to properly navigate the Barataria Waterway to avoid injuries.

Global Fabrication and ES & H are accused of failing to provide a safe place to work, safety equipment, adequate supervision or an adequate safety plan.

Cedyco and the state of Louisiana are accused of negligence for failing to properly light the wellhead, properly cap the wellhead or properly maintain the area around the wellhead.

The workers are seeking damages for physical pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, medical expenses, maintenance and cure, attorney fees, interest, costs and punitive damages.

The plaintiffs are represented by Slidell attorneys Michael Hingle, Ronald J. Favre and Bryan Pfleeger of Michael Hingle & Associates.

Case Nos. 2:10cv02122 and 2:10cv02124

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