Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Mar. 23, 2015, 1:27pm

Columbus McKinnon Corporation removes a suit alleging a barge worker was killed in a chain hoist accident to federal court.

Timothy Sagez, on behalf of Jason Sagez, filed his Nov. 17 complaint against Columbus McKinnon, Katsuyama Kikai, Nitchi Company and National Maintenance & Repair Inc.

According to the complaint, Sagez was employed at the National Maintenance & Repair floating dock when he died on Nov. 15, 2012, while working on the vessel “Jennie K.” Sagez was removing a propeller from the vessel when the chain hoist, which was manufactured by one or more of the defendants, broke and caused the propeller to fall, striking Sagez and causing his death, the suit states.

The plaintiff seeks damages caused by the defendants’ alleged negligence and faulty manufacturing.

Columbus McKinnon filed a notice of removal to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on Dec. 19. It claims the requested damages exceeds $75,000, making removal proper.

The defendant also argues that Sagez is a citizen of Illinois, Columbus McKinnon is a citizen of New York and Katsuyama and Nitchi are citizens of Japan.

Because diversity of citizenship exists, it claims the case should be removed.

Additionally, the defendant argues that “there is no ‘reasonable possibility’” that Sagez’s claims against National Maintenance & Repair will succeed. Columbus McKinnon states that Sagez was employed by National Maintenance & Repair at a floating dock, meaning he was not a seaman and is not entitled to damages under the Jones Act.

Sagez seeks costs to cover his son’s final medical bills and funeral costs.

James Williams of Williams, Caponi & Associates in Belleville represents Sagez.

Brandon P. Mueller of Husch Blackwell LLP in St. Louis represents Columbus McKinnon.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-1567

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