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In re Marquette Transp. Co. Gulf-Inland, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

November 13, 2014

In re THE MATTER OF MARQUETTE TRANSPORTATION COMPANY GULF-INLAND, LLC

SECTION: " G" (4)

For Marquette Transportation Company Gulf-Inland, LLC, Marquette Transportation Company Gulf-Inland, LLC, Petitioner, Third Party Plaintiff: Evans Martin McLeod, LEAD ATTORNEY, David J. Saltaformaggio, Phelps Dunbar, LLP (New Orleans), New Orleans, LA.

For United Bulk Terminals Davant, LLC, United Bulk Terminals Davant, LLC, Third Party Defendant, Claimant: Michael William McMahon, LEAD ATTORNEY, Daigle & Fisse, Covington, LA.

For Christopher J. Evans, Claimant: Gino John Rendeiro, LEAD ATTORNEY, David Edmund Kavanagh, Kavanagh & Rendeiro, New Orleans, LA.

ORDER

NANNETTE JOLIVETTE BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This litigation arises from an accident that allegedly occurred aboard the Jeremy, a towing vessel.[1] Before the Court is Claimant Christopher Evans's " Motion to Reset Case as a Bifurcated Jury Trial." [2] Having considered the motion, the memorandum in support, the memorandum in opposition, the memorandum in response, and the applicable law, the Court will grant the pending motion.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

In his claim, Christopher Evans alleges that he was struck in the face by a mooring cable and thrown into the Mississippi River while he was employed as a deckhand aboard the Jeremy.[3] The accident, according to Evans, severely injured him, and necessitated a water rescue by a co-employee.[4] Evans maintains that his injuries were caused solely by the negligence of Limitation Plaintiff Marquette Transportation Company Gulf-Inland, LLC and the unseaworthiness of the Jeremy and its equipment.[5]

B. Procedural Background

On October 7, 2013, Evans filed a Jones Act and General Maritime action against Marquette in the 25th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Plaquemines.[6] On November 7, 2013, Marquette initiated this action for exoneration from or limitation of liability under 46 U.S.C. § 30501 et seq . and Rule F of the Supplemental Rules of Certain Admiralty & Maritime Claims of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[7] Marquette filed an amended complaint on November 20, 2013.[8] On November 21, 2013, the Court imposed a limitation injunction and order restraining Evans from pursuing his state court lawsuit while the limitation action was pending.[9]

Evans filed an " Answer and Claim" against Marquette on December 26, 2013.[10] On December 30, 2013, United Bulk Terminals Davant, LLC (" UBT") filed an " Answer and Claim" denying liability and seeking defense, contribution, and indemnity from Marquette for costs, attorney's fees, and for any amount to which UBT is held liable if " UBT is named a defendant or Marquette tenders Evans' Claim to UBT pursuant to Federal Rules [sic] of Civil Procedure 14(c)." [11]

On July 1, 2014, Evans filed the instant motion to bifurcate.[12] On July 3, 2014, Evans filed a " Motion to Dissolve Limitation Injunction, Motion to Enter Stipulations, and Motion to Stay Limitation Action, " in which Evans urges the Court to permit him to proceed against Marquette in state court.[13] On July 15, 2014, UBT filed a " Response" to Evans's motion to ...


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