Seaman files slip and fall lawsuit against barge owner

Michelle Keahey Aug. 1, 2011, 10:00am

After slipping and falling on the deck of a barge, a seaman, who was helping with the Gulf oil spill cleanup efforts, is suing the barge owner for failing to provide a safe place to work.

Claiming he is permanently impaired, Fay Portier filed suit against Lafayette Workboat Rentals and Settoon Towing on July 29 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on Aug. 6, 2010, as Portier was working on a barge contracted for clean up in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. According to the lawsuit, while walking across the deck of the barge, Portier slipped and fell, shattering his right knee.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to provide Portier with a safe place to work, failing to properly inspect the vessel, failing to supply equipment, apparel and furnishings which were safe and fit for their intended purpose and use and engagement and assignment of an insufficient or unqualified crew.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical and mental pain, suffering, disability, physical and mental impairment, humiliation, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earnings, loss of wage-earning capacity, medical expenses, interest and court costs.

Portier is represented by Charles C. Bourque, Jr. and Adam J. Triplett of St. Martin & Bourque in Houma.

U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-01835

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