Deckhand sues employer over allegedly drunk co-workers

Michelle Keahey Oct. 10, 2012, 11:42am

NEW ORLEANS - A deckhand has filed a lawsuit against his employer claiming that he was injured because other deckhands were either intoxicated or passed out and could not help him make a connection to an empty fuel barge.

Martin Peter Hughes filed suit against Deloach Marine Services on Oct. 1 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on Oct. 8, 2009 as Hughes was employed as a deckhand on the M/V City of Port Allen. Hughes states he was injured while he was attempting to make a connection to an empty fuel barge.

According to the lawsuit, two people are customarily used to safely make a connection to empty barges that ride high in the water, but only Hughes was available because the other deckhands were all either intoxicated or passed out asleep from intoxication.

“The master of the M/V City of Port Allen was fully aware of the other crewmembers’ custom of bringing aboard large quantities of alcohol and being frequently intoxicated,” the lawsuit states.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to provide a safe and seaworthy vessel appropriate to the responsibility undertaken, by manning the vessel with an inadequate or incompetent master or crew, failing to provide a safe place to work, negligence per se, unseaworthiness per se, and for failing to properly train or supervise its agents and employees.

The plaintiff is asking for an award of $1 million damages for loss of wages and benefits, impairment of earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, loss of found, interest, and court costs.

Hughes is represented by Berney L. Strauss and Rhett E. King of Strauss & King in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

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

Case No. 2:12-cv-02407

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