Recently, a jury awarded $2,795,620.00 to Jude Lewis, a worker against Axxis Drilling, Inc. and Century Exploration Houston Inc. On November 19, 2009, the Plaintiff, a well tester, was working on an inland drilling rig owned by Axxis Drilling in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay. In order to do his job, the Plaintiff had to cross from the drilling rig to a work barge stationed a few feet away. A ladder owned by Axxis bridged the gap. While the Plaintiff was crossing, the ladder slipped out from under him, and he fell five feet into the water. He sustained neck and back injuries. It was alleged that Axxis failed to provide a gangway. Another company, Century Exploration Houston Inc. was sued, but was dismissed long before trial.
The Defense argued that using a ladder was proper, because one deck was much higher than the other, which created a steep incline. The Defense also argued that the Plaintiff’s employer set up the ladder and was responsible for not adequately securing it. The Defense also argued that the Plaintiff was contributorily negligent for failing to exercise stop-work authority and report the condition to the rig’s supervisor.
The Plaintiff suffered neck and back sprains and strains, and he underwent a fusion at L5-S1. Surgery was also recommended at L4-L5 for adjacent-level disc disease. He sought $132,500 in past medical; $410,600 in future medical; $72,600 in past lost earnings; $679,920 in future lost earnings; $500,000 in past pain and suffering; and $500,000 in future pain and suffering. The Plaintiff could not lift heavy objects, bend over, stoop, play with his children as he used to, or play sports. The surgery was a success, and the Plaintiff recovered well. Jason A. Itkin and Cory D. Itkin of Arnold & Itkin located in Houston, Texas, represented the Plaintiff and they did a very good job.
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