Seaman sues employer after falling during vessel transfer

Michelle Keahey Jun. 3, 2011, 2:24am

A seaman is suing his employer after he fell while attempting to transfer from a vessel to a small skiff using a chain fall.

Michael Smith filed suit against PBC Management Inc. on May 24 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged accident occurred on May 13, 2009 as Michael Smith was working as a crew member aboard the M/V Grace Nicole in Galveston Bay near Morgan's Point. Smith states the captain lowered a small skiff into the water during rough seas with the expectation that crew members would climb over the vessel's side and into the small skiff. Smith was attempting to make the transfer from the M/V Grace Nicole to the small skiff when he fell to the bottom of the skiff, suffering a significant injury to his right knee.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to provide Smith with a safe and efficient means of egress, failing to provide Smith with sufficient, competent and adequate crew, with a safe place to work, failing to provide Smith with a seaworthy vessel and failing to properly navigate the vessel for debarking operations.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of income and loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, compensatory and exemplary damages, maintenance and cure, interest, attorney's fees and court costs.

Smith is represented by New Orleans attorney Michael J. Mestayer.

U.S. District Judge Martin L. C. Feldman is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-01224

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