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Venable v. Hilcorp Energy Co., Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 29, 2010

TIMOTHY R. VENABLE, ET AL.
v.
HILCORP ENERGY CO., INC., ET AL.

         SECTION: "A" (2)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JAY C. ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are the following motions pertaining to insurance coverage: Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 91) filed by Greene's Energy Group, LLC; Motion for Summary Judgment As To Crossclaim of the HTK Defendants (Rec. Doc. 93) filed by Nautilus Insurance Co.; Motion for Summary Judgment As To Crossclaim of Hilcorp Energy Co. (Rec. Doc. 94) filed by Nautilus Insurance Co.; Motion for Summary Judgment As To Crossclaim of Greene's Energy Group, LLC Arising Out of the HTK Defendants' Cross Claim (Rec. Doc. 95) filed by Nautilus Insurance Co.; Motion for Summary Judgment As To Crossclaim of Greene's Energy Group, LLC Arising Out Hilcorp's Third Party Demand (Rec. Doc. 96) filed by Nautilus Insurance Co.; Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 83) filed by Hilcorp Energy Co.; Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 99) filed by HTK Consultants, Inc., Tim Heard Consulting, Inc., and Tim J. Heard.

         Also before the Court are the following motions pertaining to contractual indemnity: Motion for Summary Judgment Against Hilcorp (Rec. Doc. 92) filed by Greene's Energy Group, LLC; Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 97) filed by HTK Consultants, Inc., Heard Consultants, Inc., and Tim J. Heard; Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 98) filed by HTK Consultants, Inc., Heard Consultants, Inc., and Tim J. Heard.

         All motions are opposed. The motions, set for hearing on March 17 & 31, 2010, are before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The foregoing coverage and indemnity motions all relate to plaintiff Timothy Venable's claim for injuries that he sustained when he had a heart attack while working aboard the drilling barge Stingray at a well site on navigable waters. Venable was employed by Greene's Energy Co. and was working on a rig owned by Hilcorp Energy pursuant to a Master Services Agreement between those two parties.

         On January 2, 2008, Venable began experiencing chest pains. Venable alleges that he immediately informed Tim J. Heard, who was Hilcorp's “company man” on the rig, about his pains but that ultimately he went about 2.3 hours without medical attention. Venable claims to have sustained permanent heart damage as a result of delays in obtaining medical treatment--delays that he seems to attribute in large part to Tim Heard. Venable has sued Tim Heard and his company Heard Consulting, Inc., HTK Consultants, Inc., which is “the middle-man” entity that hired Heard for Hilcorp, the owner of the rig, and another defendant herein. Venable has also sued Nautilus Insurance Co., who issued a policy to Greene's Energy Co., Venable's employer.[1]

         Again, Venable was employed by Greene's Energy. Greene's Energy was performing contract work at the well site pursuant to a Master Service Contract with Hilcorp Energy (“Hilcorp-Greene's MSC”). (Rec. Doc. 91, Exh. 2). As part of the Hilcorp-Greene's MSC, Greene agreed to defend and indemnify Hilcorp and its contractors and subcontractors for any claims for bodily injury arising in favor of Greene's employees. (Id. at 6).

         Hilcorp separately contracted with HTK Consultants pursuant to a Master Service Contract between those two parties (“Hilcorp-HTK MSC”). (Rec. Doc. 91, Exh. 3). As part of the Hilcorp-HTK MSC, Hilcorp agreed to defend and indemnify HTK for any claims for bodily injury arising in favor of any of Hilcorp's other contractors and subcontractors. (Id. at 6).

         HTK then contracted with Heard Consulting, Inc. for the services of Tim Heard via an Independent Contractor Agreement (“HTK-Heard Agreement”). (Rec. Doc. 91, Exh. 4). As part of the HTK-Heard Agreement, HTK agreed to defend and indemnify Heard for any claims or liabilities arising out of the performance of the HTK-Heard Agreement. (Id. at 4).

         Nautilus Insurance Co. is Greene's liability insurer. Nautilus issued a general liability policy to Greene's. In addition to being named as an original defendant by Venable, Nautilus is also named as a cross claim defendant by Hilcorp., the HTK Defendants, [2] and by Greene's.

         HEC and the HTK Defendants are looking to Greene's for defense and indemnity for Venable's claims against them and Greene's is looking to Nautilus for coverage on those claims. Additionally, HTK and HEC have filed cross claims directly against Nautilus seeking coverage for Venable's claims.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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