$1 Million Judgment for Injured Worker Who Fell Because of Insufficient Scaffolding

Mark Barto, who was 41 at the time, worked as a rigger aboard the Derrick Barge 50, a vessel owned by the defendant J. Ray McDermott International Vessels Ltd. While Barto was greasing and spooling a whip line from an overhead gantry crane, he stood on a board inside a spooling machine. The board broke, causing Barto to fall about 4 feet onto the vessel’s deck.

Barto suffered soft tissue cervical injuries and lumbar injuries requiring a three-level fusion surgery.

Today Barto is unable to return to work and has incurred medical expenses of $138,800.

Barto filed a lawsuit against J. Ray McDermott International Vessels Ltd. and his employer Shore Construction LLC, alleging unseaworthiness under general maritime law and the failure to provide a safe workplace in violation of the federal Jones Act.

He claimed that the defendant should have built a certified scaffold within the spooling machine or instructed Barto on how to spool a whip line.

The federal judge entered a judgment in the amount of $1,080,000 plus maintenance and cure. The defendants have filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The attorneys representing Barto were David A. Abramson and Beth E. Abramson and Blaine J. Barrilleaux.

At the trial, the plaintiffs submitted the expert testimony of an economist and a vocational rehabilitation expert. The defendants presented expert testimony in the form of a neurosurgeon and a rehabilitation expert.

Barto v. J. Ray McDermott International Vessels, Ltd., No. 2:13cv06081 (E.D. La., Nov. 14, 2014).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling work injury cases, construction site injury cases and scaffold and ladder accident cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Flossmoor, Melrose Park, Calumet City, Blue Island, South Chicago Heights, Crete, Matteson, Chicago (Englewood, West Loop, Lincoln Park, East Side), Bensenville and Mundelein, Ill.

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