L&L Sandblasting employee seeks damages for lingering injuries allegedly suffered in equipment explosion

By Robert Hadley | Jan 6, 2016

LAFAYETTE – A St. Landry Parish man says he continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, visual impairment and a permanent limp after a 20-pound sand hopper lid allegedly struck his head in an explosion.

Valdon Valentine filed a lawsuit on Dec. 30 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana against L&L Sandblasting Inc. and American Equity Underwriters Inc., alleging violations of the Jones Act, a law governing compensation for maritime workers.

According to the complaint, Valentine, a native of Jamaica, worked for L&L Sandblasting, operating equipment on oil rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The suit says he was injured on Oct. 24, 2014, when an 8-ton Clemtex sand hopper exploded, firing its 20-pound cast iron lid into the back of his skull. As a result of the explosion, Valentine allegedly sustained skull fractures, a broken jaw, a fractured pelvis, scarring to his face and numerous other injuries. The complaint states that it was later determined that the accident was the result of outdated equipment and "extreme wear and tear." He alleges that American Equity Underwriters has terminated disability and maintenance benefits.

Valentine seeks punitive and compensatory damages, including interest and legal fees. He is represented by Lafayette attorneys R. Scott Iles and Remy A.M. Jardell.

U.S. District Court for the Western District Case number 6:15-cv-02905

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