A Mississippi seaman is suing his employer for allowing him to manually lift heavy buckets of oil when there was a mechanical lift available.

Howard L. Watkins Jr. filed suit against Galliano Marine Service, Edison Chouest Offshore Inc. & C-Lift on Oct. 26 in federal court in New Orleans.

The accident occurred on Oct. 9, 2008 as Watkins was performing his assigned duties aboard the M/V Eagle off the coast of Louisiana.

Watkins states he sustained permanent and disabling injuries to his lower back when he was attempting to lift and lower heavy buckets of crane oil manually using a long length of rope.

The defendants are accused of failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to utilize a reasonable safe means of performing the assigned task, using an unsafe method for changing the oil in the vessel's crane, failing to use available mechanical means to lift and lower heavy buckets of oil and failing to provide the plaintiff with appropriate assistance to perform this task.

Watkins is asking for an award of $1.5 million in damages for loss of wages, impairment of future earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, interest and court costs.

He is represented by Evette E. Ungar, George W. Byrne, Jr. and
Cheryl L. Wild of Ungar & Bryne in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge A. J. McNamara is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10-cv-04088

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