United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
JOE SALAZAR, E AL.
WOOD GROUP PRODUCTION SERVICES, INC., ET AL.
CONSENT OF THE PARTIES
PATRICK J. HANNA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending is defendant Renaissance Offshore, LLC's motion
for summary judgment. (Rec. Doc. 30). The motion is opposed,
and oral argument was held on March 23, 2017. Considering the
evidence, the law, and the arguments of the parties, and for
the reasons fully explained below, this Court denies
February 22, 2014, plaintiff Joe Salazar was employed by
Tannin Energy Services, Inc. as a compressor mechanic. He was
assigned to work on a fixed production platform located at
West Delta Block 152-A in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast
of Louisiana on the Outer Continental Shelf. It is undisputed
that the platform was primarily owned by Renaissance
Offshore, LLC and operations were being conducted on the
platform by defendants Wood Group Production Services, Inc.
and/or defendant Wood Group PSN, Inc.
contract between Renaissance and Tannin required Tannin to
provide a mechanic for the platform. The Master Service
Agreement between Renaissance and Tannin states that Tannin
is an independent contractor and that all of Tannin employees
“shall remain under [Tannin's] direct and sole
supervision and control at all times.” It is undisputed
that Salazar first went out to the platform on February 21,
2014 and he left the platform at the end of his regular shift
on February 27, 2014. Although he checked the gauges on some
equipment on the platform on his first day on the platform,
he testified at his deposition that he did not know that he
was also supposed to take care of equipment in a generator
room on the platform. (Rec. Doc. 32-1 at 10). Thus, he very
likely went to that room for the first time on the morning of
February 22, 2014. He testified that his duties included
monitoring the operation of two compressors located upstairs
and two generators located in a downstairs generator room. He
claims that he fell in the generator room on the morning of
February 22 due to oil that leaked from the number one
generator. (Rec. Doc. 32-1 at 10-11).
to Salazar, after he entered the generator room on the
morning of February 22 to check gauges and take readings, he
walked around the number two generator, and then slipped on
oil on the floor, injuring his neck and back. He claims that
he did not see the oil on the floor because the lights in the
generator room were not working. (Rec. Doc. 32-1 at 11).
However, he knew before he went in the room that the lights
were not working, and he was equipped with a flashlight.
(Rec. Doc. 32-1 at 11). The plaintiff testified that the oil
on the floor of the generator room came from “[t]he
rear seal, the inspection plate, and the oil pump” of
the number one generator. (Rec. Doc. 30-2 at 12).
were no witnesses to the accident. Salazar did not fill out
an accident report. His daily report indicates both that
there was an oil spill in the generator room that day and
also that he cleaned the floor in the generator room that
day, but it does not indicate that he fell or sustained any
type of injury. (Rec. Doc. 30-5 at 16). Salazar claims that
he told his Wood Group supervisor Dirk Deshotel that he had
fallen and was injured. (Rec. Doc. 30-2 at 4). Deshotel
denies this. (Rec. Doc. 30-4 at 2, 38). Salazar filled out a
written accident report about a month after the alleged
is no evidence that there were any Renaissance employees on
the platform at the time of the alleged accident. Therefore,
Deshotel, a Wood Group employee, was in charge. Deshotel
testified that Renaissance owns the generator that was
allegedly leaking. (Rec. Doc. 32-2 at 6). Renaissance argued
in support of its motion that Tannin and its employee Salazar
were in control of the generator room and responsible for its
maintenance and that of the equipment in the generator room
at the time of the accident, and Salazar's deposition
testimony generally supports that conclusion. (Rec. Doc. 30-2
at 10-11; Rec. Doc. 32-3 at 4).
is no evidence that the plaintiff knew about the alleged
generator leak before he fell. The plaintiff testified that
he has no idea how long the generator was leaking before his
fall. (Rec. Doc. 30-2 at 12.). He has no evidence that
anybody at Wood Group or Renaissance knew there was oil on
the floor of the generator room. (Rec. Doc. 30-2 at 11-12).
Salazar stated that he believed the oil had been on the floor
for a while because there were absorbent pads on the floor
that he assumed the previous mechanic had put down to absorb
the leaking oil. (Rec. Doc. 32-1 at 7). He was the only
Tannin employee on the platform (Rec. Doc. 30-2 at 15).
Deshotel was not aware of any problem in the generator room.
(Rec. Doc. 30-4 at 7). Had he known about a problem in the
generator room, he would have reported it to Renaissance.
(Rec. Doc. 32-2 at 6).
opposition to the motion, the plaintiffs offered the
affidavit and expert report of Ken Kaigler, who opined that
Renaissance was responsible for the accident because it
failed to keep the walking area of the platform free of oil
and grease, the platform lacked the proper non-skid grating,
the lighting in the generator room was improper, and
Renaissance failed to require that the generator be repaired
so as to prevent it from leaking oil. (Rec. Doc. 72).
The Summary Judgment Standard
Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. A fact is material if proof of
its existence or nonexistence might affect the outcome of the
lawsuit under the applicable governing law. A genuine ...