Vessel owner sued for failing to install guard rails on top bunk beds

By Michelle Keahey | Mar 22, 2012


NEW ORLEANS - After falling out of a top bunk while trying to sleep aboard an offshore vessel, a crewmember has filed a lawsuit against the vessel's owner for failing to install guard rails or other safety features on the beds.

Larian Wallis filed suit against Hornbeck Offshore Services, Hornbeck Offshore Trinidad and Tobago on Feb. 28 in federal court in New Orleans.

The accident occurred on Aug. 7, 2011 as Wallis was employed by Royal Eagle Services as a rigger and was assigned to work as a crewmember of the HOS Cornerstone. Wallis states that he was assigned to sleep in a stateroom in the living quarters. While he was asleep in a top bunk, he was suddenly tossed out of the bunk and landed on the corner of a desk. At the time of the alleged incident, the vessel was being rocked back and forth by strong winds and high waves.

Wallis states his injury is due to the lack of guard rails or other safety features on the bunks.

The defendants are accused of failing to equip the bunks in the staterooms on the HOS Cornerstone with guard rails or safety features, failing to properly train, supervise or inform personnel of the proper safety procedures, failing to secure or supply equipment, apparel and furnishings, which were safe for their intended purpose and use, and for the failure on the part of the supervisory personnel to recognize the obvious dangers present at the scene of the accident prior to Wallis' injury.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for physical and mental pain, suffering, disability, physical and mental impairment, humiliation, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, special damages, loss of earnings capacity, medical expenses, interest, and court costs.

Wallis is represented by Charles C. Bourque Jr. and Adam J. Triplett of St. Martin & Bourque in Houma.

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

Case No. 2:12-cv-00536

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