Crane operator claims paralysis in suit

By Michelle Massey | May 28, 2010


Four days into his new job as a crane operator, Robert Teaver claims an accident left him paralyzed.

A suit Teaver filed against Seatrax of Louisiana, Mariner Energy, Nova, and John Doe on April 16 in the Plaquemines Parish District Court was removed to federal court in New Orleans on May 20.

In the suit, Teaver claims he was assisting in the decommissioning procedures of a crane, when he fell approximately 19 feet, hitting his head on part of the crane's support leg.

Teaver had only worked one assignment for Seatrax, which was on the Mariner platform. His job duties were to assist in the "rigging down procedure" for the Seatrax portable crane located on Mariner's fixed platform, off the coast of Louisiana. According to Teaver's complaint, during the decommissioning process, on June 22, 2009, a Seatrax employee removed the pins from the bridle causing the bridle to fall and pull Teaver off of the crane. He fell on a pad eye located on the crane's support leg.

The defendants are accused of negligence by failing to properly design, construct, and maintain the platform and crane, failing to warn of the hazardous condition on board the platform and crane, failing to properly supervise its employees, failing to produce a competent crew, project management, and safety representatives and failing to properly train its employees.

The defendants are also accused of failing to identify unsafe and hazardous conditions on its platform and take the appropriate steps to reduce or eliminate them.

Teaver is seeking damages for physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of wages and elimination of wage earning capacity, medical expenses, complete disability and severe disfigurement, loss of fringe benefits, past and future maintenance and cure benefits and lost found, legal interest, and court costs.

Attorneys Philip F. Cossich, Jr., David A. Parsiola, Brandon J. Taylor, Christina M. Cossich and Darin S. Britt of Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor are representing Teaver.

Mariner Energy argues that Teaver was not assigned to any vessel or fleet of vessels and is therefore not entitled to recover damages under the Jones Act. The defendant states that Teaver merely took a crewboat from the shore in order to ferry him to the platform and that vessel was only used for transportation and as a "floating hotel" type living quarters.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv01523

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