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Fall onto Hampton fishing dock prompts fisherman's lawsuit

BRENTWOOD - A commercial fisherman is suing the Pease Development Authority and the state's Division of Ports and Harbors after he was seriously injured in a fall while attempting to use a hydraulic hoist system at the Hampton State Pier to lift boxes of fish from his boat.

David Goethel of Hampton claims the hoist controller was negligently installed and maintained, causing him to fall from his truck bed over the edge of the pier and onto the dock nearly 25 feet below on Sept. 15, 2010.

At the time, Goethel was attempting to lift boxes of fish from his boat onto his truck on the dock above, the suit said.

Goethel suffered multiple fractures to his leg, ankle and skull and continues to have limited motion in his arm and leg, paralysis of his face, hearing loss and vision and other permanent disabilities, according to the suit filed in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Geno Marconi, director of Ports and Harbors, said he was unaware of the suit and couldn't comment on the allegations.

However, Marconi said the PDA last month awarded a $1,250,220 contract to Sea & Shore Contracting Inc. of Randolph, Mass., to repair and rehabilitate the pier, which officials have acknowledged is in need of an overhaul.

In his suit, Goethel argues the PDA and the Division of Ports and Harbors owed him a "duty of care with regard to the installation and maintenance of the hoist," but were negligent, reckless and careless.

Goethel also argues that they breached their contract with him; he paid a $440 annual fee for a permit to lease and use the state pier.

As a result of the accident, Goethel's medical expenses have exceeded $100,000, the suit said.

Goethel's wife, Ellen, is also named as a plaintiff.

Following the accident, the suit said Ellen and David "were deprived of their ability to enjoy life together."

jschreiber@newstote.com

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