A man has filed suit against Bluegrass Marine and Marquette Transportation Company alleging that he sustained personal injuries while performing his work duties.
According to the suit he filed on February 9 in West Virginia’s Kanawha Circuit Court, Gary Levis was a member of the crew of the M/V Titletown USA and was a seaman about its tow.
The suit sad that on September 14, 2009, the ship and its two of seven loaded barges were northbound on the upper Mississippi River and Levis was working as the lead deckhand on the front watch when the tow became grounded and one barge broke free from the tow.
Levis said that, acting under the master’s direct orders, he and other deck crew members on watch caught the barge and tied it off to the side of the town when they were ordered by the master to maneuver the barge back to the head of the tow.
As the crew performed their assigned task, the master unexpectedly caused the tow to move, resulting in the surging of the barge and causing a line Levis had previously been working to tighten unexpectedly and spring across the area where Levis was standing.
Levis claims the line caught his right leg just below the knee and dragged him across the tow and into a kevel. He claims the line further tightened and traumatically tore his lower leg completely from his body.
The suit claims that complete amputation of Levis’ lower right leg was required in order to save his life.
The suit alleges negligence on the part of the master for configuring the tow in such a manner that it precipitated a breakaway upon a grounding even, piloting the tow so that it became grounded, failure to effectively communicate with the crew members, and failure to take the necessary precautions to avoid the incident that resulted in Levis’ injury.
Levis seeks compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest.