OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - Though vomiting and bleeding from the eyes, a painter was told to get back to work and to "stop being a baby" while repainting Google founder Larry Page's yacht, the man claims in court.
James Grupinski sued Larry Page, Modern Mud, and HF Interior for personal injuries, on Dec. 23 in Alameda County Court.
Grupinski's attorney Abraham Feinstein-Hillsman told Courthouse News the 193-foot yacht Senses Georgetown belongs to Google CEO Larry Page. Feinstein-Hillsman declined further comment.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants hired Grupinski to remodel, refinish and repaint the yacht's interior.
Grupinski says he worked 12-hour days in confined spaces with inadequate ventilation, and he was regularly exposed to noxious fumes and vapors from the Fiberglas products provided by his employers.
Grupinski claims he asked his HF supervisor, Heidi, refused his request for adequate safety equipment for the job. He says was given inadequate safety gloves and inadequate filters for his breathing respirator, and his workspaces were never properly ventilated.
When he complained, Heidi told him to "get back down there and do the work," or she would "find someone else," Grupinski says.
He claims he called an HF representative and threatened to stop work, but the rep persuaded him to stay on by promising that Heidi would be replaced as crew leader.
When Heidi learned of the call, Grupinski says, she confronted him, told him he'd "stabbed her in the back" and ordered him to redo all the work he'd already done on the yacht. He says another HF supervisor gave him a paint stripper to do so.
Grupinski says he did not know that Parks Pro Liquid Paint Stripper was a highly toxic petrochemical that had been discontinued by its manufacturer for at least a decade.
After four hours of work with the paint stripper under the same inadequate safety conditions, Grupinski says, he collapsed, unconscious. When other workers on the yacht hauled him onto the deck, he says, he started vomiting and bleeding from the eyes, ears and anus.
Grupinski says that when he asked his HF supervisors to take him to a hospital, they told him to "drink some milk" and "stop being a baby."
He was fired the next day and was not allowed to fill out an accident report, Grupinski says.
Since then, he says, he has received emergency and continuing medical treatment for seizures, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, neuropathy, neurotoxicity, early-onset Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and supra-umbilical hernias.
The defendants could not be reached for comment.
Grupinski is represented by Abraham Feinstein-Hillsman, with McGuinn Hillsman in San Francisco.
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