Sewerage and Water Board employee sues after allegedly losing eye due to workplace brawl

By Galia Binder | Feb 27, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – A Sewerage and Water Board employee alleges he was forced to have his left eye permanently removed after being struck in the face by an angry co-worker.  He is suing the worker and a SWB manager for allegedly inciting the altercation.

Derwin Riley filed suit against the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, Wilson Blake and Johnny Washington in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Dec. 17, 2013.

On Aug. 29, 2013, the plaintiff claims Johnny Washington, a fellow SWB coworker, involved him in a physical altercation.  Prior to the altercation, Riley reported an unauthorized absence made by Washington to Wilson Blake, their supervisor, the suit claims.  Riley claims Blake purposely provoked Washington to violence by informing him of Riley’s report and Washington struck Riley in the face, causing his left eye to be so severely injured, doctors removed it.

The plaintiff accuses Washington of committing an intentional tort of battery.  The plaintiff claims that under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, when one employee of an organization commits an international tort of battery against another, the plaintiff may file suit against the organization. The plaintiff accuses Blake of intentionally inciting the international tort of battery by causing Washington to become violently distressed.

Riley seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, loss of income, permanent impairment and disability.

Riley is represented by attorney Kenny M. Charbonnet of Metairie.

The case has been assigned to Division F Judge Christopher J. Bruno.

Case no. 2013-11970.

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