St. Tammany Parish man sues after boat strikes unmarked steel structure

By Michelle Keahey | Dec 10, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - A St. Tammany Parish man has filed a lawsuit claiming he suffered severe and disabling injuries when his boat struck an unmarked solid steel structure in Highline Pond in Venice.

Sean O’Connell filed suit against Robinson Interests Co. L.L.C., the Louisiana Fruit Co., Jane L. Schwedland, Peter C. Hitt, Jr. and John P. Dart, Jr. on Oct. 21 in Plaquemines Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Dec. 2.

O’Connell states he was injured on Oct. 22, 2010 as he was operating a 20-foot Shallow sport boat in a navigable waterway. According to the lawsuit, he struck an unmarked solid steel structure in the water, which was obscured.

The defendants are accused of negligence of failing to remove obstructions to navigation in a heavily-traversed navigable waterway, negligently allowing a seriously dangerous and hazardous condition to exist in Highline Pond in Venice, failing to oversee and force the burial of equipment in a navigable waterway, failing to properly or appropriately mark the obstruction, failing to warn O’Connell and the public of said dangerous condition, and for failing to exercise reasonable care for the safety of O’Connell and the public.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and suffering, medical expenses, interest, and court costs.

O’Connell is represented by C. Arlen Braud, II and Michelle O. Gallagher of Braud & Gallagher, L.L.C. in Mandeville. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-06534

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