The Louisiana Record Apr. 27, 2015, 4:05pm


A Terrebonne Parish couple brought a lawsuit against three oil industry firms for alleged negligence in a 2012 matter.

Walter and Patricia Hewitt filed a claim against Noble Drilling (U.S.) LLC, Shell Oil Co. and Frank’s International LLC, all of Baton Rouge, on April 14 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana, citing negligence in an April 2012 workplace incident.

Walter Hewitt was employed as a seaman by Frank’s International. According to the suit, he sustained severe spinal injuries while working inside a 12-by-12-foot toolbox aboard a vessel on or about April 29, 2012 when a gust of wind blew the toolbox lid onto his head, causing him to lose consciousness and fracturing his spine.

The plaintiffs maintain that the tool box lacked a hydraulic closure system; and that Walter’s accident was caused in whole or in part by the defendants’ negligence and/or the unseaworthiness of the vessel, known as the Frontier Driller.

Citing physical pain, mental anguish, lost wages and earning capacity, and medical expenses on Walter’s part; along with loss of consortium, love, affection and support for his wife, the plaintiffs have itemized their damages, seeking a total amount of $3.5 million plus attorney’s fees, expenses and costs.

The couple is represented by Michael Laborde of New Orleans.

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana case no. 2:15-cv-01197-JTM-JCW.

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