United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
ANN VIAL LEMMON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment (Doc. #17) is DENIED.
matter is before the court on a motion for partial summary
judgment filed by defendants, Enterprise Marine Services, LLC
and ABC Insurance Company. Defendants argue that they are
entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's Jones Act
claim because the undisputed evidence demonstrates that
plaintiff, Bradley Beauchaine, was solely at fault for his
alleged accident. Plaintiff argues that there are disputed
issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment on his
Jones Act claim.
filed this action under the Jones Act against his employer,
Enterprise, alleging that on November 4, 2015, he was injured
while working as a seaman aboard the M/V RYAN, a vessel owned
and operated by Enterprise. Beauchaine alleges that he
slipped and fell while scrubbing the vessel, causing him to
sustain injuries to his right hand, thumb and knee.
Beauchaine alleges that Enterprise's negligence caused
the accident in that Enterprise failed to provide a safe
place to work and allowed a dangerous slip and fall hazard to
exist on the vessel. Beauchaine also alleged claims against
Enterprise for unseaworthiness and failure to pay maintenance
deposition, Beauchaine testified that, on November 4, 2016,
he came on duty at 12:00 p.m., and was instructed by the
pilot to relieve the other tankerman, Abrham Isaacs, and
assume the job of washing the M/V RYAN's decks. The
lower-main deck was the sole remaining surface to be washed.
Beauchaine, who was wearing the correct uniform to do the
job, retrieved a bucket, soap, scrub brush, flat brush and
hose, which was all he needed to do the job properly. At
approximately 2:00 p.m., while he was washing the stern
lower-main deck on the port side of the vessel, Beauchaine
slipped on soap and tripped on a hose that he was using to
wash the deck. He hit his hand on the port stern winch.
filed the instant motion for summary judgment arguing that
Beauchaine's testimony that he had all of the equipment
necessary to do the job safely proves that Enterprise was not
negligent in causing Beauchaine's alleged accident, and
that it is entitled to summary judgment on Beauchaine's
Jones Act claim. Enterprise claims that Beauchaine was at
fault for his own alleged accident.
argues that there are disputed issue of material fact that
preclude summary judgment in Enterprise's favor on his
Jones Act claim. Beauchaine argues that Enterprise was
negligent in providing insufficient non-skid surfaces on the
main deck, which he alleges caused him to slip. Beauchaine
testified at his deposition that, about a month before the
accident, all of the M/V RYAN's decks were repainted and
new non-skid material was applied. However, non-skid material
was not applied to the main deck on the captain's order
to repaint it without applying new non-skid material.
Beauchaine claims that the new paint reduced the
effectiveness of the non-skid material that was previously on
that deck. Beauchaine also claims that Enterprise was
negligent because water did not drain well from the
vessel's decks. Further, Beauchaine argues that
Enterprise was negligent in that the hose used to wash the
main deck creates a tripping hazard because the water source
on the main deck cannot be used when the vessel is underway
due to the fact that it is behind water-tight doors that must
be kept closed. Finally, Beauchaine argues that Enterprise
was negligent in providing an insufficient crew because there
was nobody to assist him in washing the deck.
Summary Judgment Standard
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the
"court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Granting a motion for summary judgment is proper if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
admissions on file, and affidavits filed in support of the
motion demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact that the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509-10 (1986). The
court must find "[a] factual dispute . . . [to be]
'genuine' if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party . . .
[and a] fact . . . [to be] 'material' if it might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
substantive law." Beck v. Somerset Techs.,
Inc., 882 F.2d 993, 996 (5th Cir. 1989) (citing
Anderson, 106 S.Ct. at 2510).
moving party meets the initial burden of establishing that
there is no genuine issue, the burden shifts to the
non-moving party to produce evidence of the existence of a
genuine issue for trial. Celeotex Corp. v. Catrett,
106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986). The non-movant cannot satisfy
the summary judgment burden with conclusory allegations,
unsubstantiated assertions, or only a scintilla of evidence.
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994) (en banc). If the opposing party bears the burden
of proof at trial, the moving party does not have to submit
evidentiary documents to properly support its motion, but
need only point out the absence of evidence supporting the
essential elements of the opposing party's case.
Saunders v. Michelin Tire Corp., 942 F.2d 299, 301
(5th Cir. 1991).