The owner of a boat that slammed into a barge at night off the Louisiana coast, killing all five oilfield workers on it, has sued its insurance companies in federal court.
Tarpon Rental Inc. says Chartis Specialty Insurance Co. and American International Specialty Lines Co. are refusing to pay claims filed against Tarpon Rental, The Courier of Houma, La., reports.
The suit asks that a judge rule the companies’ policies were in effect during the crash, and that the companies broke state law by not paying the claim. The suit seeks an unnamed amount of money for damages and court costs.
“(The companies) denied coverage under their respective policies and refuses payment of any claims or damages,” the lawsuit says.
The barge’s owner, Antill Pipeline Construction Co. of Houma, has been sued on claims the barge was improperly moored and unlit, making it hard to see in the dark. The federal court is also Antill’s request to limit its liability in those state court lawsuits.
The crash in May 2009 killed Tarpon Rental employee Michael Carrere, 43, of Bayou Blue; Carey Meche, 52, of Metairie; Bill Voss, 49, of Katy, Texas; Rene Gauthier, 59, of Houston; and Lawrence Flak, 54, of Conroe, Texas.
The men had planned to attend the Houma Oilman’s Fishing Invitational in Cocodrie, an annual three-day charity event being held that weekend, friends said.
Chris Riviere, the Thibodaux attorney representing Tarpon Rentals in the suit, declined comment except to say that he expects to hear from the defense’s attorneys within the week.
None of the lawsuits has been resolved.