Deckhand sues for $1 million after suffering injuries from catfish barbs

Michelle Keahey Oct. 20, 2011, 9:14am

A deckhand is suing his employer for more than $1 million after he was struck twice by catfish barbs.

Claiming his employer denied him medical treatment, Felipe Hernandez filed suit against Hung Van Do on Oct. 14 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on June 1, 2011 as Hernandez was working as a deckhand assigned to the F/V Capt. Dusty. He states he was performing his assigned duties when he was struck in the arm by a catfish barb.

Although he requested medical treatment, the defendant allegedly refused. Ten days later, he was struck again by another catfish barb. The injury ultimately resulted in infection and nerve damage to his arm.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to provide Hernandez with a safe place to work, failing to provide Hernandez with appropriate safety equipment, such as appropriate gloves, failing to adequately supervise the job being performed, failing to require and utilize appropriate safety procedures aboard the vessels, failing and refusing to provide Hernandez with requested and necessary medical treatment, requiring him to work in pain and restricted physical condition and requiring him to work in unreasonably high seas.

Hernandez is seeking an award of $1 million in damages for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, attorney's fees, compensatory damages, punitive damages, maintenance and cure, interest and court costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Evette E. Ungar, George W. Byrne, Jr. and Cheryl L. Wild of Ungar & Byrne in New Orleans and Cristian P. Silva of Cristian P. Silvia Law Office in Harvey.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-02594

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