Trucker sues Dole Fruit over blindness blamed on bungee

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Friday, September 21, 2012

A truck driver is suing Dole Fresh Fruit Co. and Chevron after he says a bungee cord from a Dole trailer snapped back into his eye, causing him to go blind.
 
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in the Texas’ Eastern District in Beaumont, plaintiff Abe Coffman of Rosenberg, TX, said he suffered the injury when he was hauling Dole trailers while working as a contract driver for M.C. Trucking in April 2011.
 
On April 25, 2011, Coffman was gathering blown tire “carcasses” from Dole trailers when he picked up a loaded trailer at the Chevron plant in Port Arthur, TX, court documents state.
 
Coffman noticed that after leaving the Chevron facility, the trailer had blown a tire. After having the tire replaced, Coffman put the blown tire in the trailer’s storage cage to bring back to Dole and headed down the road.  Several miles later a second tire popped.
 
Because the trailer’s storage cage was full, Coffman put the second expired tire on top of the trailer and used his own bungee cord to tie it down after noticing that “Dole again failed to provide adequate equipment to procure and return” its tires, the suit reads. While tying the bungee, it snapped and hit Coffman in the eye.
 
Coffman says the injury has left him permanently blind in one eye.
 
According to the suit, Dole was required to perform all pre-trip inspections on its trailers. The suit also claims that Chevron should have inspected the Dole trailer before allowing Coffman to leave with it that day.
 
Dole disputes Coffman’s suit, and says it performed all its required pre-trip inspections on its trailers. Dole’s response said Coffman’s actions that day “were the sole proximate cause of his injuries.”
 
Chevron has denied responsibility for Coffman’s claims.
 
Coffman has asked for damages to cover his lost earnings, physical impairment, medical expenses and physical pain and mental anguish.

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