Seaman files lawsuit claiming ladder created dangerous condition

By Michelle Keahey | Oct 3, 2011

After falling off a ladder and sustaining serious injuries, a seaman has filed a lawsuit against his employer for allegedly failing to provide a safe place to work.

Clarence Stokes filed suit against Atlantic Sounding Co. Inc. and Weeks Marine Inc. on Sept. 21 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on April 18, as Stokes was working as a seaman aboard the M/V Captain Frank. Stokes states he sustained severe injuries when he fell off of a ladder on the vessel.

According to the complaint, he sustained ruptured disks and nerve damage.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to warn Stokes, failing to warn of the dangerous and unsafe conditions of the vessel, failing to exercise reasonable care in discovering and correcting any conditions of the vessel and for failing to provide the proper equipment and personnel to accomplish his job in a reasonably safe manner.

The defendants are also accused of negligence for failing to provide competent and adequate supervisory authority, hiring untrained and unskilled employees, retaining employees found to be careless and unskilled, failing to properly man the vessel and failing to provide prompt and adequate medical care.

Stokes is asking for an award of compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, maintenance and cure, attorneys' fees and court costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Lawrence Blake Jones and David C. Whitmore of Scheuermann & Jones in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-02366

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