Kinder Morgan faces a lawsuit in the drowning of Mr. Jerry Hooper, an experienced deckhand who went overboard off the side of a tugboat in the Mississippi River on January 9, 2016.
Mr. Hooper leaves behind a wife and four children. His wife has hired our firm to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.
On the day Mr. Hooper drowned, he was assigned to the Austin Stone, a tugboat owned and operated by Kinder Morgan. During the evening of the 9th, the lawsuit argues that the company or its agents negligently caused Mr. Hooper and other deckhands to work the barges in hazardous weather conditions and with poor lighting.
The lawsuit further claims that Mr. Hooper was unable to return to the Austin Stone and fell into the Mississippi River. His coworkers deployed a boat to try and rescue him. He was unconscious when they found him, and in trying to pull him into the boat, removed his lifejacket from him.
His body wasn't found until January 22, 2016.
The lawsuit was filed in Houston in the 113th District Court under the Jones Act. The Jones Act requires employers to have seaworthy vessels and to provide safe working environments. Our attorneys will be conducting investigations into the seaworthiness and safety of the vessel on which Mr. Hooper was working when he died.
Vuk, the lead attorney on this case, states: " We want to do three things: first, find out exactly how and why Mr. Hooper drowned on the job with Kinder Morgan, second, hold accountable those who are responsible for this tragedy, and third, we want to send a message throughout the maritime industry that companies must adhere to the strictest available safety measures for the safety of all maritime workers as well as all of us who are around their operations."