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Holman v. W-Industries of Louisiana, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

December 15, 2014

DENNIS E. HOLMAN AND YOLANDA HOLMAN
v.
W-INDUSTRIES OF LOUISIANA, LLC, ET AL

RULING

KAREN L. HAYES, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 120] filed by Defendant Nabors Drilling USA, LP ("Nabors"). Plaintiffs Dennis and Yolanda Holman ("the Holmans") have filed an opposition memorandum [Doc. No. 125], and Nabors has filed a reply memorandum [Doc. No. 129].

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Dennis Holman ("Holman") worked as a production operator for Greystar Corporation ("Greystar) aboard the ATP TITAN, a complex structure serving as both a drilling platform and production facility in the Telemark Field in the Gulf of Mexico.

On November 3, 2010, Holman was in the galley eating cereal. He heard a loud "boom" and felt the platform sway. [Doc. No. 120, Exhibit A, Holman Depo., pp. 89-90]. After that, the Emergency Shut Down and Deluge System ("ESDDS") was activated. The lights went out, and the abandon platform alarm began sounding.

There were reports of a gas release from the process area. Therefore, Holman's supervisor, Deral Cox ("Cox"), sent him below the platform to "kill the electrical pump" and stop any release. Id.

Because the water deluge system had begun to operate, spraying the platform with tens of thousands of gallons of water in order to suppress a potential fire, the piping and deck were wet and slippery. As Holman ascended a stairwell, his grip slipped, he stumbled backwards, and injured his back.

After the accident, Holman returned to the control room. By that time, the lights were back on, and the emergency generator was operating. Holman took off the remainder of his shift and was returned to shore by helicopter the next day. He did not return to work.

It was later determined that the entire event was a false alarm. However, Holman did not know what activated the ESDDS, the abandon platform warning, and the deluge system. He was told that the noise he heard was the sound of a grocery box hitting the living quarters on the ATP Titan when the Nabors crane operator was trying to lift the box, but Holman has no personal knowledge of what caused the ESDDS activation and resulting issues.

Cody Dupre ("Dupre"), who was employed by Greystar as the Lead I & E Technician[1] on the ATP Titan, was the "go-to person on the investigation" of the ESDDS activation and prepared the official Incident Report. [Doc. No. 120, Exh. D, Dupre Depo., p. 116]; [Doc. No. 125, Exh. 1]. Dupre did not find any connection between the impact of the grocery box on the handrail and the activation of the ESDDS, the abandon platform warning, and the deluge system.

On October 21, 2011, the Holmans brought suit against W-Industries of Louisiana, LLC ("W-Industries"), asserting claims under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act ("OCSLA").[2] The Holmans allege that W-Industries, which performed repair and maintenance services on the ATP Titan, are liable because its technicians negligently set the low voltage "trip level" for the ESDDS at 23 volts, rather than 21 volts, which, in turn, caused the circuit breakers to trip unnecessarily. The battery supplying power was drained and allegedly caused the scenario resulting in Holman's incident. Mrs. Holman also asserted a loss of consortium claim under Louisiana law.

On June 1, 2012, with leave of Court, the Holmans amended their Complaint. [Doc. No. 13]. As it was unclear whether the ATP Titan might be considered a vessel, rather than a platform, the Holmans amended to assert a maritime claim. The Holmans also added Emerson Network Power, Liebert Services, Inc. ("Emerson"), because it was alleged that an Emerson employee was responsible for setting the low trip level.

On August 10, 2012, W-Industries filed a Third Party Demand against Nabors, among others. [Doc. No. 23].

On June 23, 2014, the Holmans filed a Third Supplemental and Amended Complaint adding Nabors as ...


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