A Madison County seaman is asking his employer to pay $46 million after an explosion on a tugboat allegedly caused him to become permanently disabled.

Eduard Perez-Mossetty, and his wife Vanessa Miranda-Cotto, filed the lawsuit against American Tugs Inc., American Tugs and Barges Inc. and The American Boat Company. In the complaint filed Dec. 1 in Madison County Circuit Court, Perez-Mossetty accuses the defendants of negligence over an air tank explosion on-board the vessel.

According to court records, Perez-Mossetty was working as a merchant mariner and welder aboard the tugboat Alejandro on the Mississippi River in July 2009. Perez-Mossetty says he was in the boat's engine room standing beside an air accumulator tank while a fellow employee was welding pipes.

Perez-Mossetty claims the tank, which stores compressed air, exploded without warning, throwing him into the air. He says his injuries have been diagnosed as "incomplete quadriplegia, with multiple spinal fractures."

Perez-Mossetty is suing American Tugs, through the Jones Act, for negligence for failing to provide a seaworthy vessel and for failing to complete perform necessary maintenance. The seamen is also suing The American Boat Company which installed the accumulator tank for negligence.

Miranda-Cotto, the plaintiff's wife, is suing both companies for loss of consortium. The couple is asking for $300,000 to cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages and attorney fees.

In addition, Perez-Mossetty and Miranda-Cotta are suing American Tugs and The American Boat Company for loss of conjugal partnership. They are asking for an additional $45.7 million to pay for injuries, the loss of enjoyment of life and court costs.

Attorneys Michael F. Bonamarte, John J. Perconti, Steven M. Levin and Margaret Battersby of Chicago, are representing Perez-Mossetty and his wife.

The American Milling Company and Granite City Grain Inc. are named as respondents in discovery in the suit.

Madison County Circuit Court case No. 10-L-1204

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