Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cenac Marine Services, LLC v. Clark

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

April 27, 2017

CENAC MARINE SERVICES, LLC
v.
JASON CLARK REF: 16-15256

         SECTION "F"

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARTIN L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Cenac Marine Service's motion for partial summary judgment on Jason Clark's unseaworthiness claim, withheld safety bonus claim, and Jones Act claim relating to his osteomyelitis. For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.

         Background

         This is a consolidated case stemming from an injury to a seaman. The Court has issued an extensive Order and Reasons on this same matter, and for the sake of brevity assumes familiarity with the facts. The Court hereby adopts the summary of the facts in its March 22, 2017 Order and Reasons.

         On June 30, 2016 Jason Clark, an employee of Cenac Marine Services, completed a Cenac incident report form. He indicated that he injured his back the day before, June 29, 2016, when he was moving a cross-over hose without the help of a deckhand. On the incident report, Clark answered “no” to questions about whether the injury was caused by any equipment on the vessel or by another person. Additionally, Cenac offered a safety reward bonus to employees who had no incidents or accidents during the six-month period starting on January 1, 2016 until June 30, 2016. Clark's accident happened on June 29, 2016 and was reported on June 30, 2016. As a result of Clark's accident, he was diagnosed with a back strain. In the course of his treatment following the accident, his physicians also discovered that Clark had a spinal infection, osteomyelitis. Cenac paid for Clark's treatment under protest, reserving all rights to seek reimbursement.

         The Court has previously granted summary judgment in favor of Cenac, holding that Cenac was not liable for maintenance and cure payments to Clark because of his intentional concealment of a back injury. Cenac now moves for summary judgment as to Clark's unseaworthiness claim, withheld safety bonus claim, and Jones Act negligence claim as it relates to Clark's osteomyelitis.

         I.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 instructs that summary judgment is proper if the record discloses no genuine dispute as to any material fact such that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. No genuine dispute of fact exists if the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). A genuine dispute of fact exists only "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The Court emphasizes that the mere argued existence of a factual dispute does not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion. See id. Therefore, "[i]f the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, " summary judgment is appropriate. Id. at 249-50 (citations omitted). Summary judgment is also proper if the party opposing the motion fails to establish an essential element of his case. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). In this regard, the non-moving party must do more than simply deny the allegations raised by the moving party. See Donaghey v. Ocean Drilling & Exploration Co., 974 F.2d 646, 649 (5th Cir. 1992). Rather, he must come forward with competent evidence, such as affidavits or depositions, to buttress his claim. Id. Hearsay evidence and unsworn documents that cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence at trial do not qualify as competent opposing evidence. Martin v. John W. Stone Oil Distrib., Inc., 819 F.2d 547, 549 (5th Cir. 1987); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). Finally, in evaluating the summary judgment motion, the Court must read the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         II. A. Unseaworthiness Claim

         Unseaworthiness is a “remedy separate from, independent of, and additional to other claims against the shipowner, whether created by statute or under general maritime law.” Usner v. Luckenbach Overseas Corp., 400 U.S. 494, 498 (1971). Importantly, “liability based upon unseaworthiness is wholly distinct from liability based upon negligence.” Id. “The reason, of course, is that unseaworthiness is a condition, and how that condition came into being - whether by negligence or otherwise - is quite irrelevant to the owner's liability for personal injuries resulting from it.” Id. “A vessel's condition of unseaworthiness might arise from any number of circumstances.” Id. at 499. “Her gear might be defective, her appurtenances in disrepair, her crew unfit.” Id. However, “[t]o hold that [an] individual act of negligence rendered the ship unseaworthy would be to subvert the fundamental distinction between unseaworthiness and negligence.” Id. at 500.

         Cenac contends that there was no condition on board the M/V GENIE CENAC, where Clark worked at the time of the alleged incident, or with any of its appurtenances or its crew. Additionally, Cenac points to Clark's deposition which provided:

Q: Is there anything that your fellow workers did aboard the Genie tug, the GENIE CENAC, did any of them do anything ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.