Lawsuit blames explosion on welder's igniting torch with cigarette

Michelle Keahey Jun. 8, 2012, 2:50am

NEW ORLEANS - After suffering hearing loss and damage to his ear, a worker has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $500,000 against the employer of a welder who caused an explosion by igniting a welding torch with a cigarette.

Ryan Parker filed suit against J. Ragas Contractors on May 17 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on Feb. 3 while Parker was working for Megga Industries as a crewmember of the M/V Miss Tina and the construction barge "NCS 20."

Parker states that an employee of the defendant's re-ignited his welding torch with a lit cigarette despite the presence of an accumulation of gas within a piece of pipe. The re-ignition of the torch in turn ignited the gas in the pope. At the time of the gas ignition, Parker was handling the pipe. The pipe exploded and small pieces flew into his right ear.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to give proper and appropriate warnings, failing to adequately plan the operation, failing to adequately train and/or otherwise supervise its personnel in the performance of their duties, and for the failure of its employee, to safely and properly perform his job.

The plaintiff is asking the Court for an award of more than $500,000 in damages for loss of wages and benefits, impaired earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement/disability, interest, and court costs.

Parker is represented by Berney L. Strauss and Rhett E. King of Strauss & King in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01286

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