Seamen seek $11.5 million claiming brain and lung injuries from chemical exposure

Michelle Keahey Aug. 27, 2012, 3:37am


NEW ORLEANS - Three seamen have filed a lawsuit against their employer that claims they are suffering from brain and lung injuries after exposure to epoxy and acid.

Andrey Alfonso Bailey Stephenson, Edilberto Ortega Rodriguez, and Adelsio Trinidad Valencia Gamboa filed the lawsuit against Dredge Operators Inc. on Aug. 3 in federal court in New Orleans.

The workers claim that they suffered brain injuries as a result of inhaling toxic chemicals and dust from Aug. 31 through Sept. 9, 2009.
The men also state that they suffered permanent and disabling injuries to their lungs and other body parts, in the form of chemical pneumonitis, RADS, and fibrosis.

According to the lawsuit, Stephenson, Rodriguez and Gamboa worked with epoxy and acid in confined spaces without wearing respiratory protection.

The defendant is accused of negligence for unsafe job assignment and defective method of work, and for failing to provide proper respiratory protection. Dredge Operators is also accused of engaging in a "cover up" by claiming it is unaware that the men were using an acid wash and that it was ordered by an officer.

Each worker is asking for an award of $3.85 million in damages for physical and mental pain and suffering, physical scarring and disability, and loss of wage earning capacity, plus punitive damages, maintenance and cure, interest, court costs, and attorney's fees.

The plaintiffs are represented by S. Reed Morgan of the Law Office of S. Reed Morgan P.C. in Comfort and Matthew D. Shaffer of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris L.L.P. in Houston. A jury trial is requested.

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

Case No. 2:12-cv-01998

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