Deckhand sues employer after two trip and fall incidents

By Michelle Keahey | Aug 30, 2011

After falling off a vessel and a separate trip and fall incident, a Jefferson Parish deckhand is suing his employer for failing to properly supervise and train him.

Melvin Hewitt filed the Jones Act lawsuit against American Pollution Control Corp. on Aug. 18 in federal court in New Orleans.

The first incident occurred on July 15, 2010 as Hewitt was attempting to tie off the M/V Bluefin at Joshua's Marina in Buras. He states he was injured when an unexpected movement in the vessel caused him to fall into the water between two pilings.

The second incident occurred on Aug. 2, as Hewitt was working aboard the M/V Little Apache. Hewitt states he was injured while he was attempting to carry an anchor and he tripped and fell over other anchors.

American Pollution is accused of negligence for failing to properly supervise its employees, failing to properly train Hewitt, failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to adequately equip its vessel with proper equipment required to perform certain operations and failing to operate and control the vessels in a safe and seamanlike manner.

The plaintiff is asking for an award of damages for physical pain and suffering, mental pain, suffering and anguish, medical expenses, lost wages, lost found, loss of earning capacity, loss of future found, loss of fringe benefits, disfigurement and disability, loss of enjoyment of life, maintenance and cure, interest, court costs and attorney's fees.

Hewitt is represented by Gretna attorney Ronna M. Steele.

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

Case No. 2:11-cv-02051

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