Sea Supply absolved of negligence in employee's fall

By Megan Sims | Aug 9, 2018

An employee failed to prove his employer was negligent after a fall on the job , which required him to have several surgeries.

NEW ORLEANS — An employee failed to prove his employer was negligent after a fall on the job, which required him to have several surgeries. 

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, on the bench in Louisiana's Eastern District, New Orleans Division, issued a judgment on July 12 in the lawsuit by plaintiff Johnny Dean Sr. against defendant Sea Supply Inc. Dean slipped on oil while attempting to fix an engine aboard the Sea Supply owned vessel M/V Jessica Elizabeth. Having donned tennis shoes instead of the slip-resistant shoes required by the company, he was found to be negligent and responsible for his own injuries. 

Dean, who at the time of the accident was a captain, filed suit against his employer of over 15 years  in August 2016, one year to the day of his fall.

"The court has determined that plaintiff violated the company's safety rule regarding proper footwear in the engine room and was therefore negligent," Fallon said in the judgment. "Additionally the court finds that he was negligent in failing to properly prepare his task and to clean his shoes after exiting the bilge and to clean walking surfaces before beginning the task." 

Despite being aware that his shoes were not proper for work, Dean suggested the new paint used on the floor contributed to his fall. Both Dean and Sea Supply presented experts that testified to the likelihood of the paint making the floor slippery. The court found the defendant's expert more credible.

"Defendant's expert, Bob Borison, testified that the paint on the engine room floor added to the slip-resistant quality of the diamond-plated floor," Fallon said.

Dean was found only to be entitled to "maintenance and cure." Though Sea Supply had paid Dean's medical expenses to date, on the date of the trial, Dean submitted additional medical expenses, which Sea Supply was given 60 days to review and reimburse.

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