United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court is Defendant Jade Marine, Inc.'s “Motion
for Summary Judgment.” Rec. Doc. 51. Plaintiff timely
filed an opposition memorandum. Rec. Doc. 54. Defendant then
requested, and was granted, leave to file a reply memorandum.
Rec. Doc. 57. After further discovery, Defendant requested,
and was granted, leave to file a supplemental memorandum.
Rec. Doc. 61. Pursuant to this Court's Order (Rec. Doc.
59), Plaintiff timely filed a response to the supplemental
brief (Rec. Doc. 61). For the reasons discussed below,
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant's motion
for summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 51) is DENIED WITHOUT
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case arises out of injuries suffered by Plaintiff Isaac
Thibodeaux (“Plaintiff”) on April 28, 2016. Rec.
Doc. 1 at ¶ IV. On that date, Plaintiff used a swing
rope to transfer from a platform to the M/V MR. CLINT
(“CLINT”), owned and operated by Defendant
Chevron U.S.A., Inc. (“Chevron”). Id. at
¶¶ V, VII. Plaintiff alleges that the CLINT
“failed to properly land [P]laintiff on the vessel,
causing him to land in the” Gulf of Mexico, where he
was forced to stay “for an extended period, grasping
onto the leg of the platform . . . .” Id. at
also alleges in his original complaint that the M/V
REVELATION (“REVELATION”), owned and operated by
Defendant Jade Marine, Inc. (“Jade Marine”), was
an unseaworthy vessel because it did not have a
properly-trained crew. Id. at ¶¶ VI, VIII.
Plaintiff clarified in his amended complaint that the
REVELATION “failed to follow industry custom and/or
applicable Chevron safety rules and/or policies by dropping
off and leaving [P]laintiff on the platform alone.”
Rec. Doc. 15 at ¶ VII. In the instant motion, Jade
Marine explains that it was “hired by Chevron to
provide passenger and equipment transportation
services” and that, on the day of the accident, Jade
Marine transported Plaintiff to platform BMI #10 via the
REVELATION. Rec. Doc. 51-2 at 1-2. After an hour, the
REVELATION was instructed to transfer personnel at a
different structure about fifteen to twenty minutes away, so
it left Plaintiff unattended on the platform. Id.
Plaintiff completed his work aboard the BMI #10, he radioed
for the CLINT to pick him up. Rec. Doc. 51-2 at 2. After
Plaintiff subsequently fell into the water, the CLINT was
unable to retrieve him and contacted the REVELATION for
assistance. Id. The REVELATION “arrived on
scene within fifteen to twenty minutes and was able to
retrieve [Plaintiff] from the water without incident.”
Id. at 2-3.
amended his complaint a second time to add Defendant Danos
& Curole Marine Contractors, L.L.C.
(“Danos”), which Plaintiff alleges employed the
captain of the CLINT at all relevant times. Rec. Doc. 29 at
¶ 2. In each complaint, Plaintiff alleged that
Defendants acted negligently. Rec. Docs. 1, 15, 29 at ¶
THE PARTIES' CONTENTIONS
Marine argues that Plaintiff has not cited to “any
policy promulgated by Chevron or industry custom” that
would require Jade Marine or the REVELATION to standby at the
platform until Plaintiff completed his work. Rec. Doc. 51-2
at 3. Accordingly, it maintains that there is no evidence
that it owed a duty to Plaintiff. Id. at 6.
responds that Jade Marine's motion is premature. Rec.
Doc. 54 at 3. He moves under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56(d) to defer ruling on this motion until after discovery is
completed. Id. at 5.
Marine counters that this matter has been pending for a year
and a significant amount of written discovery has been
completed. Rec. Doc. 57 at 1.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is
appropriate only if “the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). See also TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick
James of Wash., 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002). A
genuine issue exists if the evidence would allow a reasonable
jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The movant must point to “portions of
‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. If and when the movant
carries this burden, the non-movant must then go beyond the
pleadings and present other evidence to establish a genuine
issue. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).
“where the non-movant bears the burden of proof at
trial, the movant may merely point to an absence of evidence,
thus shifting to the non-movant the burden of demonstrating
by competent summary judgment proof that there is an issue of
material fact warranting trial.” Lindsey v. Sears
Roebuck & Co., 16 F.3d 616, 618 (5th Cir. 1994).
Conclusory rebuttals of the pleadings are insufficient ...