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Alfred v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

November 26, 2014

ZACHERY ALFRED
v.
ANADARKO PETROLEUM CORPORATION AND DOLPHIN SCAFFOLDING SERVICES, LLC

ORDER

JOHN W. deGRAVELLES, Judge.

Before the Court are Defendant Anadarko Petroleum Corporation's (hereinafter "Anadarko") Motion for Summary Judgement (Doc. 30) and OMNI Energy Services and Charles Holston's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 31.) Dolphin has filed an Oppositions (Docs. 37 & 38) to which Anadarko, Charles Holston and Omni Energy Services Corp. have replied (Docs. 45 & 47). A Pre-Trial Conference was held on November 13, 2014, at which time Anadarko's Motions were discussed.

Accordingly, for the reasons articulated below, Anadarko's and Omni's Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. 30 & 31) are DENIED without prejudice.

I. Background and Arguments of the Parties

In his Complaint, Plaintiff Zachery Alfred alleges he was injured on December 2, 2012 when he fell from scaffolding while working aboard the Marco Polo platform. (Doc. 1, ¶ IV.) Plaintiff alleges he was an employee of Omni Energy Services (hereinafter "Omni") (Doc. 1, ¶ IV), working atop scaffolding built by Defendant Dolphin Scaffolding Services, L.L.C. (hereinafter "Dolphin") when he slipped and fell. (Doc. 1, ¶ IV). The Marco Polo structure where the accident occurred is owned by Anadarko. (Doc. 28, p. 1.)

Prior to the occurrence of the accident, Dolphin entered into a Master Service Contract (hereinafter "MSC") with Anadarko pursuant to which Dolphin would provide services to Anadarko. (Doc. 16, ¶ VI.) Dolphin alleges that in the MSC, Anadarko agreed to assume liability for and to defend and indemnify Dolphin Services against claims arising in connection with bodily injury to employees of Anadarko's contractors, subcontractors and invitees arising out of or resulting from performance of the MSC, regardless of fault. (Doc. 16, ¶ VI.)

Following the filing of Plaintiff's suit, Dolphin filed a cross-claim, asserting that Alfred was an employee of Omni and that Omni was a contractor or subcontractor of Anadarko or an invitee of Anadarko. (Doc. 16, ¶ VIII.) Dolphin claims the MSC obligates Anadarko to pay and/or reimburse Dolphin for attorney's fees and expenses incurred, court costs, and other related costs and expenses arising in connection with the claim asserted by Alfred. (Doc. 16, ¶ IX.)

Anadarko filed the present Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and U.S. Fifth Circuit law dictate that the MSC entered into between the parties is null and void. (Doc. 30, p. 1.) Anadarko argues that because the focus of the MSC is a fixed platform located on the Outer Continental Shelf, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (hereinafter "OCSLA") applies and mandates that the law of the adjacent state governs this case. (Doc. 30, p. 1.) Anadarko argues that because Louisiana law governs via OCSLA, the Louisiana Oil Field Anti-Indemnity Act (hereinafter "LOIA") invalidates the indemnity obligations imposed by the MSC. (Doc. 30-1, p. 2.)

Dolphin filed a similar third-party claim against Omni and Holston. (Doc. 24.) Therein, Dolphin claims that Charles Holston entered into an MSC with Anadarko pursuant to which Holston would provide services to Anadarko. (Doc. 24, ¶ VII.) Dolphin claims that in the MSC, Holston agreed to assume liability for and to defend and indemnify Anadarko against claims arising in connection with bodily injury to employees of Anadarko's contractors, subcontractors and invitees arising out of or resulting from performance of the MSC, regardless of fault. (Doc. 24, ¶ IX.)

Dolphin claims that Alfred was an employee of Omni and that Omni was a sister or related company to Charles Holston, Inc., and as such is bound by the MSC (Doc. 24, ¶ X.) Dolphin claims the MSC obligates Holston and Omni (hereinafter collectively referred to as "OMNI") to pay and/or reimburse Dolphin for attorney's fees and expenses incurred, court costs, and other related costs and expenses arising in connection with the claim asserted by Alfred. (Doc. 24, ¶ XIII.)

Omni filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and U.S. Fifth Circuit law dictate that the MSC entered into between the parties is null and void. (Doc. 31-1, p. 1.) Anadarko argues that because the focus of the MSC is a fixed platform located on the Outer Continental Shelf, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (hereinafter "OCSLA") applies and mandates that the law of the adjacent state governs this case. (Doc. 31-1, p. 2.) Anadarko argues that because Louisiana law governs via OCSLA, the Louisiana Oil Field Anti-Indemnity Act (hereinafter "LOIA") invalidates the indemnity obligations imposed by the MSC. (Doc. 31-1, p. 2.)

III. Standard on Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment shall be granted when there are no genuine issues of material facts and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex v. Carrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). A fact is "material" if proof of its existence or nonexistence would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under applicable law in the case. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable fact finder could render a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. at 248-49, 106 S.Ct. 2505. In order to grant a motion for summary judgment, the Court must be satisfied "that the evidence favoring the nonmoving party is insufficient to enable a reasonable jury to return a verdict in her favor." Lavespere v. Niagra Mach. & Tool Works, Inc., 910 F.2d 167, 178 (5th Cir. 1990) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505).

The moving party bears the burden of establishing that there are no genuine issues of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548. However, if the dispositive issues is one on which the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the nonmoving party may satisfy the burden by merely pointing out that the evidence in the record contains insufficient proof concerning an essential element of the non-moving party's claim. Id. at 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548; Lavaspere, 910 F.2d at 178. The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party, who must, ...


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