Wrongful death suit filed against companies over malfunctioning crane

Michelle Keahey Dec. 4, 2011, 4:00am


The family of a deceased maintenance technician has filed a lawsuit against the companies responsible for maintaining the crane that unexpectedly pinned the technician against the wall, causing his fatal injuries.

Evangeline Matherne Knoblock, Nolan Paul Knoblock, Brent Christopher Knoblock and Kurt Michael Knoblock, individually and on behalf of Nolan Phillip Knoblock, Jr. filed suit against Offshore Process Services Inc., Konecranes Inc., Donavan Meyer Associates Inc., Oil States Martec Crane Services Inc., Oil States MCS Inc. and Oil States Industries Inc. on Oct. 27 in Tangipahoa Parish District Court. The defendants removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Nov. 28.

The accident occurred on Oct. 30, 2010, as maintenance technician Nolan Knoblock, Jr. was changing an overhead light bulb in the West Bridge area of the LOOP Marine Terminal. He was using the West Bridge Overhead Crane as a work platform to gain access to the light bulb.

While he was performing the task, the crane unexpectedly moved forward and he was pinned between the crane and a cable tray.

Sometime thereafter, employees arrived and freed Knoblock but despite medical efforts, he died as a result of the incident.

Following Knoblock's death, LOOP conducted an accident investigation and discovered that a control wiring problem in the crane caused the accident.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to complete a thorough inspection of the crane, for certifying that the crane was safe and free of defects without completing and adequate inspection and despite the fact that the control wiring problem existed, and for failing to alert LOOP and any other entity of the control wiring problem that caused this accident.

The family is asking for an award of damages for medical expenses, loss of services and support, loss of society, care and affection, grief and mental anguish, punitive damages, interest, court costs and an award of damages for Nolan Knoblock's conscious pain and suffering prior to death.

The plaintiffs are represented by James C. Klick and Joseph E. "Jed" Cain of Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar in New Orleans and Loyd J. Bourgeois of Luling.

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

Case No. 2:11-cv-02935

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