United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE
G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are motions for summary judgment filed by
Prewett Enterprises, Inc. (“Prewett”) [Doc. No.
125], Union Pacific Railroad Co. (“Union
Pacific”) [Doc. No. 132], Hulcher Services, Inc.
(“Hulcher”) [Doc. No. 141], and jointly by
College City Leasing, LLC (“College City”),
Daniel Shackleford (“Shackleford”), Taylor
Consolidated, Inc. (“Taylor Consolidated”),
Taylor Logistics, Inc. (“Taylor Logistics”), and
Taylor Truck Line, Inc. (“Taylor Truck”) [Doc.
No. 160]. R & L Builders Supply, Inc. (“Builders
Supply”) and R & L Properties of Oak Grove, LLC
(“Properties”) have asserted claims against these
parties for damage to land from a train derailment and the
derailment clean-up. In their motions, the parties do not
contest Properties' ownership interest in the Land, but
move to dismiss Builders Supply's claims against them,
arguing that Builders Supply has no evidence of its interest
in the land.Additionally, the moving parties argue that
Builders Supply has failed to establish that it suffered a
loss from cross ties located on the land. Builders Supply has
opposed the motions. [Doc. Nos. 131, 139, 140 & 163].
Some of the moving parties have filed replies in support of
their motions. [Doc. Nos. 147 & 167].
following reasons, the motions for summary judgment are
GRANTED, and Builders Supply's claims are DISMISSED WITH
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
October 5, 2014, Shackleford was operating a 2013 Kenworth
tractor with trailer and dolly (hereinafter “tractor
trailer”) loaded with a Terex RT-780 crane. The tractor
trailer was owned by College City, but leased to Taylor
approximately 1:00 p.m., Shackleford was driving the tractor
trailer south on U.S. Highway 165 in Mer Rouge, Louisiana. At
the intersection of 165 and U.S. Highway 425/La. Highway 2,
Shackleford stopped at the stop sign and then turned left
onto U.S. Highway 425/La. Highway 2. He then proceeded to a
highway/railway grade crossing over a Union Pacific main line
railroad track. The crossing is protected by railroad
pavement markings, crossbuck signs, flashing lights, gates,
Shackleford attempted to drive over the crossing, the tractor
trailer became lodged, straddling the tracks. He exited the
tractor to attempt to extricate the lowboy trailer, but did
not notify law enforcement or Union Pacific.
Shackleford's tractor trailer was lodged on the tracks
and before he could extricate it, a Union Pacific train
traveling north on the track, which runs parallel to U.S.
Highway 165/La. Highway 138, began to approach to crossing.
The train activated its flashing lights, bell, and crossing
gate. When the Union Pacific train crew saw the tractor
trailer at the crossing, crew members applied the emergency
brakes in an effort to avoid the collision. The crew members
were unsuccessful, and the train collided with the lowboy
trailer and attached crane. As a result of the collision,
approximately 17 railroad cars and 2 locomotives left the
railroad tracks, cargo spilled, and a tank car leaked Argon
onto surrounding property.
owns the land located along Church Street in Mer
Rouge (“the Land”) where at least
some of the cars and other debris came to rest after the
collision and where reclamation and clean up took place
without permission of Properties. The members of Properties,
a limited liability company organized under Louisiana law,
are Linda and Randle McLarrin. The McLarrins are also
officers of Builders Supply, a Louisiana corporation which
operates a building supply and equipment facility on Andrews
Lane in Mer Rouge.
and Builders Supply have an existing written lease, entered
into on January 5, 2012, which contains a legal description
of the Andrews Lane property. [Doc. No. 125-9]. Approximately
one year before the accident, Properties purchased the Land
for the purpose of expanding Builders Supply's business
operations. The written lease was not amended to include the
Land, nor was another written lease executed prior to the
Randle McLarrin testified that he intended to execute a lease
between the two entities (as President of both entities), but
no written lease covering the Land was executed prior to the
to the accident, Builders Supply sold topsoil from the Land
and also stored used cross ties there. Trusses and pilings
for the expansion had been procured, and the site had been
staked out. However, no buildings had been erected, and
Builders Supply's operations had not otherwise been
expanded to the Land.
January 14, 2015, Plaintiff Union Pacific brought suit
against Taylor Truck, Taylor Logistics, Shackleford, and
October 1, 2015, Builders Supply and Properties brought suit
against Union Pacific, Taylor Truck, Taylor Logistics,
College City, Shackleford, and B & P Enterprises, Inc. In
their Complaint, Properties states that it was the owner of
“certain property located in Mer Rouge, LA, and
leased to [Builders Supply]. [Doc. No. 1,
¶ XXVIII (emphasis added)]. As a result of
Properties' ownership and Builders Supply's alleged
lease of the Land, they jointly seek recovery of damages to
the Land, damages to trees on the Land, damages to buildings
on the Land, damages to cross ties and other building
materials on the Land, loss of lumbar products because of the
lack of anticipated storage space on the Land, loss of
revenues from the anticipated expansion of the business
operations, added costs to remediate hazardous chemicals,
loss of value of the Land, and loss of the ability to sell
top soil from the Land.
November 4, 2015, the Builders Supply and Properties suit was
consolidated with the Union Pacific suit ...