After battery allegedly explodes in face, maritime worker sues for $1 million

By Galia Binder | Mar 19, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – A maritime worker claims he was permanently disabled after a faulty battery detonated in his face and is suing his employer for negligence and maintaining an unseaworthy vessel.

Thanh Michael Tran filed suit against Boh Bros. Construction LLC in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Jan. 8.

On March 13, 2013, Tran alleges he was working as a crew member on the tug boat Mr. Junius when he was ordered by his captain to get a charge on the vessel’s eight volt battery. After the battery was not showing a charge, Tran alleges the captain ordered him to jiggle the connection whereupon it sparked and the battery exploded in the plaintiff’s face, knocking him back onto the deck. Tran claims he sustained significant injuries to his lower back, neck and cervical spine, right shoulder and arm, face, ear, hand and brain.  Tran was 23 years old at the time of the incident, earning roughly $80,000 per year working for the defendant. He claims to now be permanently disabled and expects to suffer financial losses in an amount over $1 million in the future.

Tran accuses the defendant of negligence, including failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to provide pre-employment safety analysis, failing to inspect equipment and failing to enforce a proper safety program. Additionally, the plaintiff accuses Boh of maintaining an unseaworthy vessel. Tran asserts a replacement battery had been requested multiple times and these requests had been ignored. Therefore, Tran is seeking damages under U.S. general maritime law.

Tran is seeking unspecified damages for physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, permanent disability, disfigurement and loss of wages, employment benefits and earning capacity.

The Plaintiff is represented by attorney Berney L. Strauss of New Orleans.

The case has been assigned to Division C Judge Sidney H. Cates IV.

Case no. 2014-00272.

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