Three more lawsuits have been filed in the Seacor Power disaster: One on behalf of Dylan Daspit's survivors, the other two on behalf of surviving crew members.
That brings the number of suits filed up to at least 10; Seacor also has filed documents seeking to cap the amount it will have to pay. That issue will be decided before any of the lawsuits proceed.
The Seacor Power lift boat capsized eight miles off the coast of Port Fourchon in Lafourche Parish on April 13 with 19 crew members on board. While six of the crew members were rescued by good Samaritans and the U.S. Coast Guard, six have been confirmed dead and seven are still missing at sea.
You can see more of KATC's coverage of the Seacor Power at KATC.com/GulfSearch.
The three suits filed on Tuesday by the New Orleans firm of Lewis, Kullman, Sterbcow & Abramson were filed on behalf of deceased Cardinal Coiled Tubing worker, Dylan Daspit, and surviving Seacor Power vessel crew members, James Gracien and Bryan Mires.
"In addition to the lawsuits, claims made on behalf of the surviving and deceased individuals aboard the Seacor Power must be made in the limitation of liability action recently filed by the owners of the Seacor Power in federal court. The limitation of liability action is Seacor Marine’s attempt to use existing federal law to cap the amount it has to pay related to this incident to the value of the vessel and its freight, which they have valued at $5,678,420.00," a release from the law firm states.
The lawsuits filed today will be stayed until the federal court concludes the limitation of liability action, the law firm states.
The suits, which you can read for yourself below, reveal some new details. All seek damages from Seacor, Falcon Global Energy and Talos Energy.
In the case of Dylan Daspit, whose family has been active in the search following the disaster, it was filed by his wife, Hannah Daspit. She was appointed administrator of his estate on May 24, the suit states. At the time of the accident, Daspit was working for Cardinal Services, Inc. as a Coiled Tubing Supervisor, and was paid about $70,000 annually, the lawsuit states.
The suit accuses those in charge of the lift boat of ignoring weather warnings the day of the disaster.
"At the time the SEACOR POWER departed Port Fourchon, Louisiana, the National Weather Service had already issued a series of marine warnings for locations in southeast Louisiana, including Port Fourchon. Defendants knowingly failed to properly communicate these warnings to the crew of the SEACOR POWER, and instead ordered the SEACOR POWER to leave Port Fourchon on the ill-fated voyage to the Talos platform in the Gulf of Mexico," the suit alleges.
After the weather "predictably" deteriorated, the boat capsized, the suit states.
"Upon information and belief, Decedent survived the capsizing but ultimately perished while awaiting rescue, and although his body still has yet to be recovered, the U.S. Coast Guard has presumed Decedent Dylan Daspit dead. Decedent is survived by his spouse, Hannah Daspit, and two minor children, all of whom were completely and fully dependent upon Decedent for economic and emotional support," the lawsuit states.
The suit filed by Gracien, who lives in Alabama and survived the disaster, states he was employed by Seacor as a mate on the lift boat, making more than $600 a day. It gives details of how he managed to survive, floating in the gulf for about three hours.
"After being slammed into an interior vessel wall while the vessel took on water and breaking a window with a fire extinguisher, Plaintiff James Gracien escaped from his living quarters aboard the capsized vessel. He was washed into the Gulf of Mexico and drifted in rough and frigid waters for approximately three hours, during which time he became hypothermic, and his kidneys nearly shut down as his body systems fought to stay alive in the harrowing and lifethreatening conditions," the suit alleges. "Plaintiff was fortuitously rescued by a passing vessel and transported to Terrebonne General Medical Center where he was admitted for five days to receive care and treatment."
Gracien is now permanently disabled, and will need surgery for some of his injuries, the suit alleges.
The suit filed by Mires, who lives in Breaux Bridge and also survived, says he also was employed by Seacor as a mate, making about $400 a day. It also details how he escaped the wreckage and drifted.
"After the vessel capsized, Plaintiff Bryan Mires escaped from the bridge of the vessel aboard the capsized vessel. After using a pocketknife to cut himself free from a rope that was tangled around his legs, he was washed into the Gulf of Mexico and drifted in rough and frigid waters for approximately two hours," the suit alleges. "Plaintiff was fortuitously rescued by a passing vessel and, after being pulled aboard, continued to assist in the search and rescue efforts for additional survivors until the following day."
Mires also claims to be permanently disabled by the injuries he sustained in the disaster.
Here are the lawsuits: