Appeal from the Sixteenth Judicial District Court In and for
the Parish of St. Mary State of Louisiana No. 127812
Honorable Curtis Sigur, Judge Presiding
Stephen M. Irving Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for
Plaintiffs/Appellees Brendan Sharp, Ray Sharp and Christine
C. Rather, Jr. Charles E. Sutton, Jr. Mandeville, Louisiana
Counsel for Defendant/Appellant The City of Morgan City.
Stephen E. Broyles Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for
Third-Party Defendant/Appellee RedIron Construction, LLC.
C. Gaudin Ralph T. Rabalais Metairie, Louisiana Counsel for
Third-Party Defendant/Appellee Legacy Construction Services.
T. Butler, Jr. Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for the
Intervenor/Appellee Bridgefield Casualty Insurance Company.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C. J., GUIDRY, AND McCLENDON, JJ.
personal injury suit, a defendant/third-party plaintiff
appeals a trial court's grant of two motions for summary
judgment in favor of two third-party defendants. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
1, 2014, Brendan Sharp, a 17-year-old employee of RedIron
Construction, LLC (RedIron), was injured when a steel panel
he was handling came into contact with, or in close proximity
to, an overhead power line owned and operated by The City of
Morgan City (Morgan City). RedIron was the subcontractor of
Legacy Construction Services (Legacy). Legacy had been hired
to build a commercial structure for Cummins Mid-South Diesel
in Morgan City. Legacy subcontracted with RedIron to frame
the building and install metal sheeting on the exterior.
November 14, 2014, Brendan and his parents, Ray Sharp and
Christine Andrews, filed a petition for damages, naming
Morgan City as the sole defendant. Thereafter, Morgan City
filed a third-party demand against Legacy and RedIron,
seeking complete indemnity from Legacy and RedIron for their
failure to follow Louisiana's Overhead Power Line Safety
Act (OPLSA), LSA-R.S. 45:141, et seq. In response,
Legacy and RedIron each filed motions for summary judgment,
arguing that all provisions of the OPLSA were complied with.
Morgan City opposed the motions, asserting that issues of
material fact existed as to whether Legacy and RedIron
negotiated satisfactory mutual safety arrangements with
Morgan City in connection with the work they were performing
as required by the OPLSA.
trial court heard arguments on July 29, 2016, and took the
matter under advisement. On August 10, 2016, the trial court
issued written Reasons for Judgment, finding that Legacy and
RedIron were in full compliance with the OPLSA and that
Morgan City was not entitled to indemnity for any damages or
costs incurred as a result of the accident involving Brendan
Sharp. On September 14, 2016, the trial court signed a
judgment, granting the motions for summary judgment and
dismissing Legacy and RedIron from the litigation. Morgan
City then appealed.
summary judgment procedure is designed to secure the just,
speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action, is
favored, and shall be construed to accomplish these ends.
LSA-C.C.P. art. 966A(2) (as amended by 2015 La. Acts, No.
422). After an opportunity for adequate
discovery, a motion for summary judgment shall be granted if
the motion, memorandum, and supporting documents show that
there is no genuine issue as to material fact and that the
mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. LSA-C.C.P.
art. 966A(3) (as amended by 2015 La. Acts, No.
burden of proof rests with the mover. Nevertheless, if the
mover will not bear the burden of proof at trial on the issue
that is before the court on the motion for summary judgment,
the mover's burden on the motion does not require him to
negate all essential elements of the adverse party's
claim, action, or defense, but rather to point out to the
court the absence of factual support for one or more elements
essential to the adverse party's claim, action, or
defense. The burden is on the adverse party to produce
factual support sufficient to establish the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact or that the mover is not
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. LSA-C.C.P. art.
966D(1) (as amended by 2015 La. Acts, No. 422). When a motion for
summary judgment is made and supported, an adverse party may
not rest on the mere allegations or denials of his pleading,
but his response must set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. If he does not so
respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be rendered
against him. LSA-C.C.P. art. 967B.
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the trial
court's role is not to evaluate the weight of the
evidence or to determine the truth of the matter, but instead
to determine whether there is a genuine issue of triable
fact. Hines v. Garrett, 04-0806 (La. 6/25/04), 876
So.2d 764, 765. A fact is material if it potentially ensures
or precludes recovery, affects a litigant's ultimate
success, or determines the outcome of the legal dispute. A
genuine issue is one as to which reasonable persons could
disagree; if reasonable persons could reach only one
conclusion, there is no need for a trial on that issue and
summary judgment is appropriate. Hines, 876 So.2d at
in determining whether summary judgment is appropriate,
appellate courts review evidence de novo under the
same criteria that govern the trial court's determination
of whether summary judgment is appropriate. In re
Succession of Beard, 13-1717 (La.App. 1 Cir. 6/6/14),
147 So.3d 753, 759-60. Because the applicable substantive law
determines materiality, whether a particular fact in dispute
is material can be seen only in light of the substantive law
applicable to the case. Jackson v. City of New
Orleans, 12-2742 (La. 1/28/14), 144 So.3d 876, 882,
cert-denied, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 197, 190
L.Ed.2d 130 (2014) .
OPLSA sets forth clear statutory guidelines for persons
working in the vicinity of high voltage power
lines. Louisiana Revised Statutes 45:142
prohibits anyone from working within ten feet of any high
voltage overhead line and provides:
No person shall, individually or through an agent or
employee, perform any function or activity upon any land,
building, highway, waterway, or other premises, if at any
time during the performance of any function or activity it is
possible that the person performing the function or activity
shall move or be placed within ten feet of any high voltage
overhead line, or if it is possible for any part of any tool,
equipment, machinery, or material used, handled, or stored by
such person to be ...