PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

November 15, 2012

Port of Port Arthur sues dredging company

PORT ARTHUR — As a result of damage allegedly sustained during dredging activities, the Port of Port Arthur Navigation District of Jefferson County has filed a lawsuit against Weeks Marine Inc.

The Port of Port Arthur claims that Weeks Marine damaged the wooden cluster piles that protect the port facilities in December 2010.

The wooden cluster piles may have prevented Weeks Marine’s dredging vessel from damaging the port’s concrete facilities, said Heather Blackwell, an attorney with Moore, Landrey, the law firm representing the Port.

Blackwell said the Port wanted to recover the deductible from Weeks Marine, which totaled over $100,000.

The Port went ahead and filed the lawsuit because the deadline for filing suit for the alleged damage was growing closer, Blackwell said. She expected to be able to resolve the suit amicably in court, she said.

Linda Spears, president of the Port’s board of commissioners, declined to comment on the suit because it was pending litigation.

“Plaintiff alleges that the negligent conduct of the defendant was the proximate cause of property damage to plaintiff’s facilities,” the suit states.

The Port is also suing for court costs, the Southeast Texas Record reported.

The Port of Port Arthur board of commissioners met Wednesday morning for a regular meeting. The lawsuit against Weeks Marine was on the agenda for the board’s closed session.

The board discussed the upcoming port expansion project Wednesday morning but did not take any action on it. The project is currently in a preliminary, planning stage, Spears said, but she expected a project timeline would be ready for the board’s December meeting.

When it is completed, Spears said the expansion project would be a great opportunity to hire more employees and add some energy to the economy.

“It’s going to benefit the community,” she said.

Spears said to keep an eye on the port in 2013 because it would be expanding and evolving into an “economic force.” The port would top what it did in 2012, she said.

“It’s good for the whole city,” she said. “I can just feel the pulse of good things already happening.”

email: bcrum@panews.com

twitter: @broocrum

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