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Injured worker can’t sue engineering firm in trench accident

Posted On: Mar. 19, 2020 2:27 PM CST


A worker who was injured in a trench collapse as a school construction site in LaPlace, Louisiana, can’t sue the engineering firm contracted with the school district, a Louisiana appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Nijel Young was hired by Hard Rock Construction LLC to help construct a drainage pipe on a campus run by the St. John the Baptist School District, which hired All South Consulting Engineers LLC to oversee the project. Following the accident in October 2014, Mr. Young sued the construction and the engineering firms for negligence, claiming that concerns over trench hazards had been voiced, according to documents in Nijel Young v. Hard Rock Construction LLC, Hard Rock Construction Of Louisiana LLC, And All South Consulting Engineers LLC, filed in the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit, in Gretna, Louisiana.

A trial court granted All South Consulting Engineers a summary judgment, finding that the engineering firm did not oversee safety for workers on sight per language in the contract between it and the school board.

Mr. Young hinged his allegations against the engineering firm by testifying that an “unknown” supervisor had inspected the trench.

The appeals court ruled that it found “no genuine issues of material fact” in Mr. Young’s claims, writing: “we find that plaintiff's deposition testimony regarding the identity of the ‘engineer’ falls critically short of meeting his statutory burden of proof in opposing All South's motion for summary judgment.”