Deckhand sues claiming he was mistreated by boat's doctors

By Andrea Dearden | Nov 30, 2012


A deckhand on an Illinois boat says he was mistreated by doctors hired by his employer to treat an on-the-job injury.

Jeffrey Ross filed a lawsuit Nov. 13 against Alter Barge Line Inc. in Madison County Circuit Court.

Ross says he was a member of the crew on board the M/V Kathy Ellen in November 2009. While on the Upper Mississippi River, within the jurisdiction of Illinois, Ross claims he was told by his supervisor to remove a steel cable rigging connecting two barges together. Ross says he was told to use a pry bar but the rigging was under too much tension to use it safely. However, his supervisor allegedly ordered him to do it anyway. Ross claims he hurt his lower back while using the pry bar.

According to the complaint, Ross was sent to Midwest Occupational Medicine in Wood River for evaluation and treatment of his injuries. Ross contends the doctors at the clinic, hired by Alter Barge Line, refused to take an accurate medical history and accused him of faking an injury as a guise to obtain pain medicine.

Ross alleges the company violated the Jones Act, which allows sailors to make claims against their employers, and accuses Alter Barge Line of negligence for unsafe working conditions. He seeks an unspecified amount of money in damages for medical care, lost wages and court costs.

Attorney Roy C. Dripps of Alton represents Ross. They ask for a jury trial.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-1852

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