Barge worker hurt from gunwhale fitting, suit says

Steve Gonzalez Dec. 19, 2006, 11:46am

A Mississippi River barge worker filed a Jones Act complaint against National Maintenance and Repair Inc. in Madison County Circuit Court Dec. 15, claiming he was severely injured Dec. 16, 2003, while fitting a gunwhale on a barge.

Represented by Eddie Unsell of East Alton, Matthew Peters is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

Peters was employed by National Maintenance as a leadman and member of the crew, the complaint states.

Peters claims his employer failed to provide him a reasonably safe place to work, failed to provide adequate assistance, failed to warn him of dangers, failed to supervise his work and failed to provide him with adequate equipment to safely perform the tasks he was assigned.

According to the complaint, Peters suffered extensive injuries to his head, body, trunk and limbs, lost money from the loss of wages, suffered a loss of earning capacity, experienced pain and suffering and has been obligated to pay medical expenses.

In addition to compensatory damages, Peters seeks $35 per day claiming National has refused to meet its duty under General Maritime Law to provide him with full maintenance and cure for his injuries.

"The defendant's refusal is in contravention of plaintiff's established maritime rights," the complaint states.

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