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Price v. Chain Electric Co. Entergy Corp.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

April 12, 2017

CLYDE PRICE AND HIS WIFE, MARY PRICE
v.
CHAIN ELECTRIC COMPANY AND ENTERGY CORPORATION AND/OR ITS AFFILIATE

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 733-430, DIVISION "D" HONORABLE SCOTT U.SCHLEGEL, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, CLYDE PRICE AND HIS WIFE MARY PRICE Victor J. Woods, Jr.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, ENTERGY CORPORATION Ernest P. Gieger, Jr. Emily E. Eagan.

          Panel composed of Robert M. Murphy, Stephen J. Windhorst, and Hans J. Liljeberg

         HJL

         RMM

         SJW

          HANS J. LILJEBERG JUDGE

         Plaintiffs, Clyde and Mary Price, appeal a summary judgment granted in favor of defendant, Entergy Louisiana, L.L.C. ("ELL"), finding that ELL was Mr. Price's statutory employer and dismissing plaintiffs' tort claims against ELL. For the following reasons, we reverse the summary judgment and remand this case for further proceedings.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On June 9, 2005, Chain Electric Company ("Chain") and Entergy Services, Inc. ("ESI") entered into a written agreement, entitled "Entergy Systemwide Multipurpose Maintenance, Modification and Construction General Services Agreement" ("the Agreement"), bearing contract number 10092965. Pursuant to the Agreement, ESI and Chain agreed that any "affiliate" of ESI could issue Contract Orders to Chain requesting Chain's services. The parties further agreed that any and all Contract Orders issued by an affiliate were deemed to incorporate the provisions of the Agreement. The Agreement provides that an affiliate that issues a Contract Order to Chain is recognized as the statutory employer of Chain's employees.

         On June 1, 2011, Chain and ELL entered into a Contract Order, bearing contract number 10318822 and providing that Chain would perform services for ELL, commencing on June 1, 2011 and ending on May 31, 2013. This Contract Order indicates that it was issued pursuant to the Agreement, number 10092965, between ESI and Chain.

         On November 28, 2012, while working as an employee of Chain, Clyde Price was assisting with excavation and trenching work for the purpose of adding additional line capacity for ELL. Mr. Price sustained injuries when an incident or "cave-in" occurred in the trench where he was working. On December 2, 2013, Mr. Price and his wife, Mary Price, filed this lawsuit against Chain, Entergy Corporation, and/or its affiliate, alleging that defendants were negligent by failing to ensure that proper safety procedures were followed.[1] Plaintiffs subsequently amended their petition to name ELL as a defendant, in lieu of Entergy Corporation.

         On September 21, 2015, ELL filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of plaintiffs' claims against it, arguing that ELL was Mr. Price's statutory employer and, thus, ELL is immune from tort claims, with worker's compensation being plaintiffs' exclusive remedy. ELL asserted that the clear language of the Agreement, ...


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