Employer sued for allowing intoxicated seaman to drive motorcycle

Michelle Massey Feb. 22, 2011, 3:00am


The family of a deceased seaman has filed a lawsuit against the man's employer for allegedly allowing him to drive a motorcycle while heavily intoxicated.

Robin Sims, individually, on behalf of the estate of Christopher A. Sims Sr., Stacey Sims-Jackson, on behalf of her minor son Cas Jr. and Lori Viste Kelly, and on behalf of her minor daughter LTS filed suit against Louisiana Oilfield Divers on Feb. 9 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the complaint, Christopher Sims was employed by the defendant as a seaman, commercial diver and crewmember. On approximately April 24 2010, Sims' vessel was ordered to return to shore because of inclement weather. Sims, along with his co-workers, were taken to the home of a Louisiana oilfield diver's supervisor, where they were to remain on call and "on the clock" for further instructions.

The lawsuit claims that the diver's supervisors served their employees alcoholic beverages while waiting to return offshore. A supervisor allegedly supplied Sims with the keys to a motorcycle despite knowing that Sims had been drinking heavily.

Shortly after leaving the residence on the motorcycle, Sims was killed in an accident.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to properly plan for the evacuation, bunking and quartering the crew, providing alcoholic beverages to its crew, allowing and providing Sims the keys to a motorcycle knowing that he had been drinking and failing to provide Sims with a safe and nonhazardous workplace.

The plaintiffs are represented by Bobby J. Delise and Alton J. Hall, Jr. of Delise & Hall in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00278

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