CHARLESTON -- A man is suing Bluegrass Marine and Marquette Transportation Company after he was injured while performing his work duties.
Gary Levis was a member of the crew of the M/V Titletown USA and was a seaman about its tow, according to a complaint filed Feb. 9 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
On Sept. 14, 2009, the M/V Titletown USA and its tow of seven loaded barges was northbound on the upper Mississippi River and Levis was working as lead deckhand on the front watch when the tow became grounded and one barge broke loose from the tow, according to the suit.
Levis claims acting under the direct orders of the master, he and other deck crew members on watch caught the barge and tied it off to the side of the tow when the master ordered them to maneuver the barge back to the head of the tow.
As the crew was performing the assigned task, the master caused the tow to move unexpectedly, which resulted in surging of the barge and caused a line Levis had previously been working to tighten unexpectedly and spring across the area where Levis was standing, according to the suit.
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.
Complete amputation of the lower right leg was required in emergency surgery to save Levis' life, according to the suit.
Levis claims the master negligently configured the tow in such a manner that precipitated a breakaway upon a grounding event; negligently piloted the tow so that it became grounded; failed to effectively communicate with the crew members; and failed to take all precautions necessary to avoid the incident that caused Levis injury.
Levis is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Timothy P. Rosinsky and Scott A. Damron.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-216