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 on the
issue of negligence [Doc. Nos. 182 & 187] filed by
Prewett Enterprises, Inc. (“Prewett”) and Hulcher
Services, Inc. (“Hulcher”). Prewett and Hulcher
move the Court for summary judgment, arguing that R & L
Properties of Oak Grove, LLC (“Properties”)
and/or R & L Builders Supply, Inc. (“Builders
Supply”) have failed to show that they committed any
negligent acts or omissions and that the Court should dismiss
all claims of “negligence, improper actions and/or
damage to the property.” [Doc. No. 182]. Properties and
Builders Supply oppose these motions.
following reasons, the motions for summary judgment on the
issue of negligence are GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
October 5, 2014, Daniel Shackleford
(“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 Railroad
Co. (“Union Pacific”) main line railroad track.
The crossing is protected by railroad pavement markings,
crossbuck signs, flashing lights, gates, and bells.
Shackleford attempted to drive over the crossing, the tractor
trailer became lodged, straddling the tracks. He exited the
tractor to attempt to extricate the trailer, but did not
notify law enforcement or Union Pacific.
to Shackleford, approximately two minutes later, before he
could extricate the tractor trailer, a Union Pacific train
traveling north on the track, which runs parallel to U.S.
Highway 165/La. Highway 138, began to approach the crossing.
The train activated its flashing lights, bell, and crossing
gate. At the time of the accident, Union Pacific engineer,
Russell Rowe, was operating the lead locomotive, and Union
Pacific conductor, James Kovalyshyn, was in the cab as well.
When they 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 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, including
land owned by Properties.
January 14, 2015, Plaintiff Union Pacific brought the instant
suit against Taylor Truck, Taylor Logistics, Shackleford, and
College City. On November 4, 2015, a lawsuit filed by
Properties and Builders Supply was consolidated with this
owns the land located along Church Street in Mer Rouge
(“the Church Street Land”) where train cars and
other debris came to rest after the collision and where
reclamation and clean up took place, allegedly without
permission of Properties. Builders Supply operates a building
supply and equipment facility on Andrews Lane in Mer Rouge.
one year before the accident, Properties purchased the Church
Street Land for the purpose of expanding Builders
Supply's business operations. Prior to and at the time of
the accident, Builders Supply was storing used cross ties on
the Church Street Land.
February 27, 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in
part motions for summary judgment filed by Prewett, Hulcher,
and the Taylor Entities. [Doc. No. 288]. The Court ruled that
Builders Supply did not have a lease for the affected land,
and, thus, it could not assert any claims for damages to the
Church Street Land. However, the Court found that there was a
genuine issue of material fact for trial on the alleged
damage to Builders Supply's cross ties stored on the
Church Street Land.
and Builders Supply have asserted negligence claims against
Prewett and Hulcher for alleged damage they caused during the
clean up and reclamation activities. In the instant motions,
Prewett and Hulcher move the Court to find that Properties
and Builders Supply have failed to raise a genuine issue of
material fact for trial that they committed any act or
omission of negligence. Properties and Builders Supply oppose
the motions. [Doc. Nos. 225 & 232]. Prewett and ...