Commercial diver's death in underwater explosion is subject of suit

Michelle Massey Aug. 24, 2010, 1:24pm


A pregnant South Carolina woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her husband's employer after he was killed in an underwater explosion.

Ping Hollifield, individually and on behalf of the estate of Christopher M. Hollifield and on behalf of the unborn child, Tanner Hollifield, filed suit against Veolia ES Special Services Inc. and ABC Insurance Co. Aug. 5 in federal court in New Orleans.

The incident occurred July 2, as Christopher Hollifield was participating in a platform salvage operation off the coast of Louisiana. During a bell run dive, an explosion occurred at the site of the underwater burn, causing Hollifield fatal injuries.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to properly equip, man, maintain and operate the vessel, for failing to implement an overall plan to complete the burn in a safe and non-hazardous manner, failing to provide the decedent with a safe place to work, failing to provide safe and sufficient tools and manpower to complete the tasks and failing to properly instruct, supervise, outfit and brief the decedent.

Veolia ES Special Services is also accused of failing to ensure that the area of the burn was absent of residual, trapped or accumulated gas prior to instructions to commence the burn.

Hollifield is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

Hollifield is represented by Bobby J. Delise and Alton J. Hall, Jr. of Delise & Hall in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv02522

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