After more than a week of trial, a Mobile County Circuit Court jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs in a port accident that killed one worker and injured another. The jury awarded approximately $5.75 million in actual and punitive damages to the families of Carl Williams, who died, and Edward Purdue, who was seriously injured. The men were working on a 17-foot skiff when a winch onboard an oil tanker yanked their boat out of the water. Kendall Dunson and Cole Portis from our firm, along with David A. Bagwell, whose law practice is in Fairhope, Ala., represented the Plaintiffs. The Defendants were Groton Pacific Carriers, Inc. and International Tanker Management Holding, Ltd.
The companies deserved to pay a heavy price in this case, not only to accept responsibility for the accident, but because they were not telling the truth about what happened and their role in it. A message needed to be sent that worker safety must be the most important thing, and that companies must stand behind their actions and make things right when they do wrong. This tragic accident should never have happened.
The accident occurred in June 2008 on the Mobile River. The workers, Mr. Williams and Mr. Purdue, were working on a small aluminum boat, moving the heavy docking lines used by large oceangoing ships as they dock and undock in berths at the Port of Mobile. Without warning, the deck winch on the large vessel pulled the docking line in toward the vessel, yanking the small boat into the air and spilling Mr. Williams into the water, where he drowned, and seriously injuring Mr. Purdue. This case was tried in state court applying Maritime Law. This was a very good result for the family of the decedent and also for the injured worker. If you need more information about this case contact Kendall Dunson at 800-898-2034 or by email at Kendall.Dunson@beasleyallen.com.
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