United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
Castille et al.
Apache Deepwater LLC et al.
Consent of the Parties
B. WHITEHURST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion For Summary Judgment filed by
defendant, Island Operating Company, Inc.
(“IOC”), [Rec. Doc. 156] and Rory L. Castille and
Natasha Castille's Memorandum in response thereto [Rec.
Doc. 173]. For the following reasons, IOC's Motion will
action arises out of an accident on October 13, 2012, in
which Rory Castille (hereinafter “Plaintiff) sustained
personal injuries and damages while working on Apache's
West Cameron 111-F unmanned satellite production platform
(“WC 111-F”) on the Outer Continental Shelf. At
the time of the accident, Plaintiff was employed by Total
Safety, Inc. (“Total Safety”) as a technician for
navigational aids and fire-fighting equipment. Plaintiff
alleges he was injured when, after opening the door to the
wellhead master control panel (“MCP”) on WC
111-F, he was engulfed by a flash fire. R. 1,
brought this suit on November 14, 2012. R. 1.
Plaintiffs originally sued Apache, the owner of WC 111-F, and
the operator of the platform, “in the alternative in
the event it is established that as operator it failed to
take proper safeguards. . .” Plaintiffs claimed that as a
result of Defendants' negligence, Rory Castille
(“hereinafter referred to as “Plaintiff) suffered
and will continue to suffer bodily injuries, physical pain
and mental anguish, physical impairment and disfigurement,
loss of earnings, and medical expenses. Id. at
¶9. Natasha Castille alleged a loss of consortium
claim. Id. at ¶ 10.
filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment seeking
dismissal of Plaintiffs claims with prejudice. R.
156. IOC argues that the foregoing facts establish that
no IOC production operator was ever in a position to prevent
Plaintiff s accident. IOC further argues that it is not
liable for Plaintiffs' alleged injuries because it did
not assume nor did it owe a duty of care to Plaintiff.
party has filed an opposition to the motion. Instead, the
plaintiffs filed a “Memorandum Regarding Island
Operating Company, Inc.'s Motion For Summary
Judgment.” R. 173. In the Memorandum, the
plaintiffs addressed the “pertinent facts” set
forth by IOC in its memorandum in support of the Motion for
Summary Judgment. Id. The plaintiffs state that they
do not dispute the “pertinent facts” in support
of IOC's Motion. Id. Accordingly, the Court
construes the plaintiffs' Memorandum as a concession that
they have no objection to IOC's Motion for Summary
Judgment and a concurrence that these facts are undisputed.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment will be granted only if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions, together with
affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law. Fed R. Civ P. 56(c); Brown
v. City of Houston, 337 F.3d 539, 540-41 (5th
Cir.2003). A material fact is a fact which, under applicable
law, may alter the outcome of the suit. Ameristar Jet
Charter, Inc. v. Signal Composites, Inc., 271 F.3d 624,
626 (5th Cir.2001). A dispute is genuine when a
reasonable finder of fact could resolve the issue in favor of
either party, based on the evidence before it. See Royal
v. CCC & R Tres Arboles, L.L.C., 736 F.3d 396, 400
(5th Cir.2013). “The moving party bears the burden of
demonstrating that there exists no genuine issues of material
fact.” In re Vioxx Prods. Liab. Litig., 501
F.Supp.2d 776, 781 (E.D.La.2007). When considering a motion
for summary judgment, the Court must “review the facts
drawing all inferences most favorable to the party opposing
the motion.” Gen. Universal Sys., Inc. v. Lee,
379 F.3d 131, 137 (5th Cir.2004). The non-moving
party must then go beyond the pleadings and “identify
specific evidence in the record and ... articulate the
precise manner in which that evidence supports his or her
claim.” Fuentes v. Postmaster Gen. of U.S. Postal
Serv., 282 F.App'x 296, 300 (5th
Cir.2008). Conclusory allegations, speculation,
unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic arguments are not
an adequate substitute for specific facts showing a genuine
issue for trial. TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James of
Wash., 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir.2002).
contends it is not liable for Plaintiff's alleged
injuries because it did not owe Plaintiff a duty to maintain
and/or repair any parts located within the wellhead MCP on WC
111-F which lead to Plaintiff's injuries. It is
undisputed that because this case arises on the OCS, the
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (“OCSLA”)
mandates that the law of the adjacent state, in this case
Louisiana, governs Plaintiff's claims to the extent that
it does not conflict with other federal law and regulations.
43 U.S.C. § 1333(a)(2)(A); McNeese v. Reading &
Bates Drilling Co., 749 F.2d 270, 273 (5th Cir.1985)
(state law is “surrogate federal law”). The Fifth
Circuit has held that Louisiana's “duty-risk”
standard does not conflict with federal law. Gates v.
Shell Oil, 812 F.2d 1509, 1516 (5th Cir.
1987) (citing Harris v. Pizza Hut of Louisiana,
Inc., 455 So.2d 1364, 1369-70 (La.1984)).
claims under Louisiana law undergo a five-part analysis: did
the defendant owe a duty to conform conduct to a specific
standard; was that obligation breached; was the breach the
cause-in-fact of plaintiff's injury; was the breach the
cause-in-law of plaintiff's injuries; and have actual
damages been shown?” McCarroll v. Wood Group
Management Services, Inc., 561 Fed.Appx. 407, 409-10
(5th Cir. 2014). “In Louisiana the existence
of a duty and its scope are questions of law. Duty varies
depending on the facts, circumstances, and context of each
case and is limited by the particular risk, harm, and
plaintiff involved.” Dupre v. Chevron U.S.A.,
Inc., 20 F.3d 154, 157 (5th Cir. 1994).
contends that the following undisputed deposition testimony
demonstrates the absence of a legal duty owed to Plaintiff by