Seaman seeks $5M for wrongful termination after head injury

GALVESTON – Claiming he was wrongfully terminated after receiving a head injury on the job, a Galveston County seaman is seeking $5 million from his former employer. James Gowdy filed a Jones Act suit against Kinder Morgan Inc. on Jan. 13 in Galveston County District Court. He alleges he was injured on March 24 while working aboard the M/V Audrey. According to the original petition, Gowdy and a co-worker were tightening a mechanical wench when the co-worker lost control of a stainless steel teeter bar. The bar then shot across the deck and struck Gowdy in the head, the lawsuit states. Gowdy claims he recalls nothing after the incident until he woke up five hours later in a Sulphur, La., hospital, the suit says. The suit states that Gowdy sustained contusions and abrasions as well as injuries to his neck, legs and other parts of his body. He says he was unable to maintain his balance after the injury and unable to return to work. Gowdy claims his employment was then terminated. He consequently seeks a jury trial along with the $5 million in damages. The Buzbee Law Firm is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

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