Mechanic sues transport vessel for $2 million after falling into Gulf

By Michelle Keahey | May 8, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - An offshore mechanic has sued a transport company arguing that the company failed to maintain a transport vessel's position, which caused the mechanic to fall from an oil platform's swing rope into the Gulf of Mexico.

Brian DeLagardelle filed suit against Sun Boats Inc. on May 2 in federal court in New Orleans.

The alleged incident occurred on Feb. 9 while DeLagardelle was employed by Cameron International Corp. as a mechanic and he was being transported from Venice, La. to Main Pass 41 aboard the M/V Sun Trae, a vessel owned by the defendant.

Due to foul weather conditions, it was decided that the personnel basket would not be used to transfer DeLagardelle, and instead, he was instructed to use the platform's swing rope.

According to the lawsuit, the vessel's failure to maintain its position caused DeLagardelle to be left hanging by the swing rope and fell into the Gulf of Mexico.

DeLagardelle states that he feared for his life and thought he would drown.

The defendant is accused of negligence for continuing with the voyage to Main Pass 41 despite the unsafe conditions, not having the transfer conducted by a personnel basket, allowing the swing rope transfer to proceed under the prevailing weather conditions, failing to maintain control of the M/V Sun Trae, and for failing to follow safety rules and regulations relating to swing rope transfers and man overboard.

The plaintiff is asking for damages for loss of wages and benefits, impairment of future earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, punitive damages, interest, and court costs.

DeLagardelle is represented by Berney L. Strauss and Rhett E. King of Strauss & King in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01127

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