Molly English-Bowers Feb. 8, 2016, 2:18pm


BELLEVILLE – A Belleville maritime worker is suing a Louisiana petroleum company, alleging negligence for injuries he says he suffered on the job.

Mark S. Purkaple filed the lawsuit Jan. 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against SGS Petroleum Service Corporation, of Baton Rouge, La., alleging violations of the Jones Act, which governs workers compensation rights for work aboard water-worthy vessels.

According to the complaint, on Dec. 23, 2014, Purkaple was assigned the tasks of a tankerman—which includes starting the barge engine, fueling the vessel, pumping out bilge water and changing engine filters. The suit says he injured his right foot and ankle when he slipped and fell on a slippery ramp as he was boarding the barge.

The lawsuit alleges his injuries are the result of the defendant's negligence for failing to provide a reasonably safe place to work, failing to provide a safe means of entry and exit, failing to provide treatment to the slick ramp and failing to properly inspect the ramp.

As a result, the complaint says, the plaintiff claims he injured his right foot and ankle, causing him to seek medical treatment, tests, therapy and X-rays. The plaintiff alleges he will require future medical treatment, he has experienced lost wages and benefits and/or loss of earning capacity. He also claims his ability to enjoy the normal pursuits of life has been impaired.

Purkaple seeks more than $50,000, plus court costs and any other relief the court deems just and proper. He also seeks a jury trial. He is represented by attorneys Eric D. Holland and R. Seth Crompton of the Holland Law Firm in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-60

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