A trial is set to start in Houston on Monday in a case of a worker injured in a 2012 shipyard accident when a jack-up rig of a Friede & Goldman design being built for Noble Corporation tilted to one side.
The rig, now known as Noble Regina Allen, was being built by Sembcorp Marine’s Jurong Shipyard for the offshore driller Noble Corporation.
The accident happened when the jack-up mechanisms of one of the legs of a three-legged jack-up rig had failed, causing the rig to tilt to one side. About 90 workers were injured as a result of the accident.
Plaintiff David Carnes, a citizen of Texas, brings negligence claims to the court, complaining against Friede & Goldman and Noble Corporation and its subsidiaries. Plaintiff has requested a trial by jury on all claims and seeks monetary relief over $1 million.
Carnes’ attorney, Cory Itkin of Houston-based law firm Arnold & Itkin, said: “This is a case where bad engineering met with reckless decision-making which led to a spectacular disaster. We know that the computer code used to direct the rig’s vertical movement was bad, and we know the breaks used to control the movement were woefully insufficient, but no one is accepting fault.
“At trial, we’ll be asking a jury to determine who ultimately bears responsibility for this completely preventable disaster.”
Defendants accused of negligence
On December 3, 2012, plaintiff was working on a jack-up rig called the Noble Regina Allen when the rig tilted over. The plaintiff claims that, as a result of defendants’ negligence, he severely injured his back, hand, and other parts of his body.
According to court files obtained by Offshore Energy Today, the plaintiff alleges that defendants are negligent for failure to properly supervise their crew; failure to properly train their employees; failure to provide adequate safety equipment; failure to provide a safe work environment; negligently causing the rig to tip over; vicariously liable for their employees’ negligence; failure to follow applicable government safety regulations; having defective designs for the rig, its equipment, and/or component parts.
As a result of the incident, the plaintiff sustained severe injuries to his body, which resulted in physical pain, mental anguish, and other medical problems. He has sustained severe pain, physical impairment, discomfort, mental anguish, and distress.
It has been said that, in all reasonable probability, the plaintiff’s physical pain, physical impairment and mental anguish will continue indefinitely. He has also suffered a loss of earnings in the past, as well as a loss of future earning capacity. Plaintiff has incurred and will incur pharmaceutical and medical expenses in connection with his injuries. Plaintiff has been damaged in a sum far in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of the court, for which he now sues. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief over $1 million.
Carnes also claims that defendants were subjectively aware of the extreme risks posed by the conditions which caused his injuries, but did nothing to rectify them. He also claims that defendants had actual, subjective awareness of the risks, and consciously disregarded such risks.
When it comes to the rig Noble Regina Allen, Sembcorp Marine’s Jurong Shipyard delivered it to Noble in October 2013.
According to Noble’s latest fleet status report issued on Thursday, the rig is working on a 22-well P&A program for ExxonMobil offshore Canada. The contract started in mid-December 2017 and expires in mid-December 2019.
Offshore Energy Today Staff