Gene Johnson Sep. 25, 2015, 11:52am


A resident and airboat motor vessel owner in the Parish of Orleans is asking the court to clear him of any claims surrounding the death of a man after a fishing trip on his boat, claiming that his boat was safe and sturdy at the time of the accident.

Frederick R. Heebe, the owner of a 1997, 16-foot Alumitech Airboat motor vessel, filed a complaint for exoneration from or limitation of liability Aug. 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

According to the complaint, Heebee granted permission for Albert Ward, Paul Martin and Harrison Foster Pettit Sr. to use the vessel for a fishing trip on Oct. 15, 2014. Thomas Rhodes was operating the boat and had done so before in the past. The vessel rolled starboard in Dixon Bay and capsized in shallow water, and Pettit climbed on top of the partially submerged hull, scraping his leg in the process, the complaint states. Heebe claims that Pettit suffered only minor lacerations, abrasions and/or contusions.

Pettit’s children and spouse claim in a lawsuit that Pettit’s injuries had become infected, which led to his death on Nov. 22, 2014. The suit has been filed in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, seeking recovery for Pettit’s alleged wrongful death.

Heebe is represented by Rachel L. Bradley and Michael L. McAlpine of McAlpine & Cozad in New Orleans.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana case number 2:15-cv-03532-JCZ-KWR

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