Vessel's captain sued after striking wellhead

Michelle Keahey Sep. 7, 2011, 2:18am

Two crew members filed a lawsuit against their vessel's captain after he struck a stationary wellhead allegedly in broad daylight.

Joel Merrick and Gregory Vaughn filed suit against Teneco Denet on Aug. 31 in federal court in New Orleans.

Defendant Teneco Denet was the master and captain of the vessel known as the M/V Teon Maria and Merrick and Vaughn were members of the crew aboard the vessel.

The alleged incident occurred on June 10, 2010 as the defendant was operating the vessel in broad daylight with clear visibility. According to the lawsuit, he struck a stationary wellhead causing the plaintiffs to be tossed within the vessel. The men state that they suffered severe personal injuries during the incident.

The defendant is accused of negligence for operating the vessel in a reckless manner, for failing to see what he should have seen, failing to assure that all equipment on the vessel was operating properly at the commencement at the voyage and failing to keep a proper lookout.

The men are seeking more than $2 million in damages for mental and physical pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of earnings and impairment of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, interest.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jim S. Hall and Joseph W. Rausch of Jim S. Hall & Associates in Metairie.

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-02176

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