EBI manufactures, operates, and maintains a fleet of specialty lift-boats and marine cranes out of several Louisiana port facilities. EBI employed Naquin at its shipyard in Houma, Louisiana, where he had served as a vessel repair supervisor since 2005. Naquin’s primary responsibility as a vessel repair supervisor was the maintenance and repair of EBI’s fleet of lift-boat vessels. Ordinarily, Naquin worked aboard the lift-boats while they were moored, jacked up, or docked in EBI’s shipyard canal. Naquin’s spent approximately 70 percent of his total time working aboard these vessels, including inspecting them for repairs, cleaning them, painting them, replacing defective or damaged parts, performing engine repairs, going on test runs, securing equipment, and operating the vessel’s marine cranes and jack-up legs. Two to three times per week, Naquin would do his work while the vessel was being moved to another position in the canal. Occasionally, EBI dispatched Naquin to repair a vessel or fill in as a vessel crane operator while the vessel was operating in open water. Naquin spent the remaining 30 percent of his time working in the shipyard’s fabrication shop or operating the shipyard’s LC-400 land-based crane.
On November 17, 2009, Naquin was using the shipyard crane, which had been designed and constructed by EBI, to relocate a test-block, a heavy iron weight used to test the lifting capacity of cranes. Although the test-block was well within the LC-400’s rated capacity, the crane suddenly failed, causing the boom and crane house to separate from the crane pedestal. As the crane toppled over onto a nearby building, Naquin was able to jump from the crane house. However, he did not avoid injury; he sustained a broken left foot, a severely broken right foot, and a lower abdominal hernia. Naquin’s cousin’s husband, who happened to be another EBI employee, was working in the building and was crushed by the crane and killed. Naquin learned of his death while in the hospital after the accident, either later that same day or the next day.
Judge(s): W. Eugene Davis
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
Related Categories: Damages , Employment , Torts
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