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Patterson v. Blue Offshore BV

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

March 3, 2015

DANNY PATTERSON,
v.
BLUE OFFSHORE BV, et al., Section

ORDER AND REASONS

NANNETTE JOLIVETTE BROWN, District Judge.

This litigation arises from an accident that occurred at sea off the coast of Russia. Presently pending before the Court is defendant FMC Technologies' "Motion for Summary Judgment"[1] Having reviewed the motion, the memoranda in support, the memoranda in opposition, and the applicable law, the Court will deny the pending motion.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

In his complaint, Plaintiff Danny Patterson alleges that he injured his knee and leg on August 21, 2012 while working for Blue Offshore as a Jones Act Seaman on the vessel "M/V Simon Stevin, " then located off the coast of the Russian Federation.[2] Patterson, claiming negligence, alleges that Defendants Blue Offshore BV, Aker Solutions, Inc. ("Aker"), and FMC Technologies, Inc. ("FMCTI") "jointly and severally" caused his injuries, which rendered him unfit for duty.[3] In an amended complaint, Patterson identifies FMC Eurasia, LLC ("FMC Eurasia"), FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS ("FMC Kongsberg"), and Aker Subsea AS ("Aker Subsea") as likewise "indebted unto [him] for all damages to which he is entitled to receive[.]"[4] Patterson alleges that FMCTI, FMC Eurasia, FMC Kongsberg, Aker, and Aker Subsea served as contractors charged with providing subsea umbilical equipment and/or technical supervision on the project where he sustained his injuries while working for Blue Offshore, and that each defendant is liable to him in connection with their performance of their role in the project.[5] His allegations against each party are as follows.

First, Patterson contends that FMCTI failed to: (1) "provide proper and safe umbilical equipment for the job in question;" (2) "take steps to ensure that the contracted work was performed in a safe and workmanlike manner;" (3) "take steps to remedy the improper and unsafe umbilical equipment once it was known or should have been known to it through the exercise of reasonable care;" and (4) "satisfy, and hence breach of [sic] the terms of its contract of which [he] was a third party beneficiary."[6]

Second, Patterson asserts that Aker failed to: (1) "provide proper and unsafe umbilical equipment for the job in question;" (2) "take steps to remedy the improper and unsafe umbilical equipment once it was known or should have been known to it through the exercise of reasonable care;" (3) "satisfy, and hence breach of [sic] the terms of its contract of which [he] was a third party beneficiary."[7]

Third, Patterson contends that Blue Offshore failed to "provide [him] with a safe place to work and [committed] other violations of the Jones Act as will be shown at trial."[8] Fourth, Patterson contends that FMC Eurasia and Aker Subsea "failed to properly provide... technical supervision."[9] Fifth, Patterson asserts that FMC Kongsberg "failed to properly provide... equipment" for the project.[10]

B. Procedural Background

Patterson filed the present lawsuit on February 22, 2013.[11] On May 20, 2013, Aker filed an answer.[12] On June 26, 2013, Blue Offshore filed an answer.[13] On July 3, 2013, Blue Offshore filed a "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to 12(b)(2)."[14] On July 11, 2013, Paterson filed a "First Supplemental and Amended Complaint, " adding allegations regarding his residence, the location of the accident, and a jury demand.[15] On July 23, 2013, Blue Offshore and FMCTI filed answers.[16] On July 25, 2013, Aker filed an answer.[17]

On September 20, 2013, Blue Offshore filed a "Motion to Stay Discovery Pending Resolution of Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, "[18] and Patterson filed a "Motion to Compel Discovery."[19] On October 8, 2013 the Court (1) denied without prejudice Blue Offshore's Motion to Dismiss; (2) ordered that limited discovery be taken from Blue Offshore; and (3) denied as moot the two pending discovery-related motions.[20]

On February 21, 2014, Blue Offshore re-urged its "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to 12(b)(2)."[21] On April 8, 2014, FMCTI filed the instant "Motion for Summary Judgment."[22] On May 13, 2014, Patterson filed a "First Supplemental and Amending Complaint, " adding FMC Eurasia, FMC Kongsberg, and Aker Subsea as defendants.[23]On June 9, 2014, FMCTI filed an answer to Patterson's amended complaint.[24] On June 12, 2014, Aker filed an answer.[25]

On August 26, 2014, FMC Kongsberg filed a "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2)."[26] On September 16, 2014, Aker Subsea filed a "Motion to Dismiss."[27]

On September 18, 2014, the Court denied Blue Offshore's re-urged "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to 12(b)(2)."[28] On October 16, 2014, Blue Offshore filed a "Motion for Evidentiary Hearing and Reconsideration, " urging the Court to hold an evidentiary hearing and reconsider its September 18, 2014 order denying its motion to dismiss.[29]

On November 10, 2014, the Court denied without prejudice FMC Kongsberg's "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2), " permitting the parties to conduct jurisdictional discovery and granting FMC Kongsberg leave to re-urge its pending motion after January 12, 2015.[30] On February 10, 2015, FMC Kongsberg re-urged its "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2)."[31]

III. Parties' Arguments

A. FMCTI's "Motion for Summary Judgment" [32]

In support of the instant motion, FMCTI asserts that Patterson "will be unable to come forward with significant probative evidence, ' or indeed any evidence, to establish his negligence claims against [FMCTI]."[33] Rather, FMCTI contends, "the available evidence establishes that [FMCTI] had no involvement or responsibilities in connection with the events that gave rise to [Patterson's] claims, " preventing Patterson from establishing the duty, breach, and cause elements of a negligence claim against FMCTI.[34] FMCTI argues that its affidavits "establish that [FMCTI] did not provide, nor did it contract to provide, any equipment whatsoever for the Russian project, " and also establish that "no [FMCTI] employee participated in the Russian project in any way, at any time."[35] Rather, FMCTI maintains, "the only two FMC' employees who were present aboard the M/V Simon Stevin on the date of [Patterson's] accident are and were employed by FMC Eurasia."[36] Indeed, FMCTI asserts, "the Affidavits in question... establish that [FMCTI] played no role whatsoever with respect to the Russian project generally or the work that was ongoing at the time of plaintiff's injury in particular."[37]

FMCTI asserts that Patterson will not be able to offer evidence to refute these asserted facts.[38] Moreover, FMCTI contends, Patterson "acknowledged during his deposition that he did not know what FMC entity was involved in these operations and that he did not know if the FMC reps' aboard the vessel were employed by [FMCTI]."[39] FMCTI therefore argues that Paterson will be unable to establish the duty, ...


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