United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
Jade Marine, Inc. re-urged its motion for summary judgment of
Plaintiff's claims. Rec. Doc. 64. Plaintiff does not
oppose Jade Marine's motion. Rec. Doc. 65.
reasons discussed below, IT IS ORDERED that
Defendant Jade Marine's motion (Rec. Doc. 64) is
GRANTED and Plaintiff's claim against
Defendant Jade Marine is DISMISSED WITH
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Isaac Thibodeaux was inspecting an oil platform in the Gulf
of Mexico on April 28, 2016. Rec Docs. 51-3 ¶¶ 1,
7; 54-3 ¶¶ 1, 7. Plaintiff had been dropped off at
the platform by the M/V Revelation, a boat owned and operated
by Jade Marine. Rec. Docs. 1 ¶ VI; 15 ¶ 1.
Plaintiff was alone; no one else was working on the platform.
Rec. Doc. 15 ¶ 1. While Plaintiff was working, the
Revelation sailed to another part of the oil field. Rec.
Docs. 51-3 ¶ 9; 60-1 ¶¶ 11, 13; 61-1
¶¶ 11, 13.
Plaintiff finished his work, he radioed the M/V Mr. Clint to
pick him up. Rec. Docs. 51-3 ¶ 14; 54-3 ¶ 14.
Plaintiff fell into the water while trying to board the Mr.
Clint and the crew on the Mr. Clint was unable to retrieve
Plaintiff. Rec. Docs. 51-3 ¶¶ 15-16; 54-3
¶¶ 15-16. The Mr. Clint radioed for the Revelation,
which returned to the platform and safely retrieved Plaintiff
from the water. Rec. Docs. 51-3 ¶ 18; 54-3 ¶ 18.
brought a negligence claim against Jade Marine and argued
that Jade Marine was negligent when it left Plaintiff on the
oil platform alone. Rec. Docs. 1 at 3; 15; 29 at 2-3. Jade
Marine moved for summary judgment. Rec. Doc. 51. Jade
Marine's motion was denied without prejudice, to be
re-urged upon completion of additional discovery. Rec. Doc.
63. After deposing the Captain of the MV Revelation, Jade
Marine re-urged its motion for summary judgment. Rec. Doc.
64. Plaintiff does not oppose Jade Marine's motion. Rec.
judgment is appropriate when “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)). A genuine issue of
material fact 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
the movant bears the burden of proof, she must
“demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact using “competent summary judgment evidence.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. But “where the
non-movant bears the burden of proof at trial, the movant may
merely point to an absence of evidence.” Lindsey v.
Sears Roebuck & Co., 16 F.3d 616, 618 (5th Cir.
1994). When the movant meets her burden, the burden shifts to
the non-movant, who must show by “competent summary
judgment evidence” that there is a genuine issue of
material fact. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986);
Lindsey, 16 F.3d at 618.
is an actionable wrong under general maritime law.”
In re Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. LLC, 624
F.3d 201, 211 (5th Cir. 2010). To succeed on a negligence
claim, a “plaintiff must demonstrate that there was a
duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, breach of that
duty, injury sustained by the plaintiff, and a causal
connection between the defendant's conduct and the
plaintiff's injury.” Id. The instant
motion turns on the question of whether Jade Marine owed
Plaintiff a duty to stay near the oil platform while
Plaintiff worked alone. See Rec. Docs. 51-2 at 6-8;
54 at 3-9; 64-2 at 1.
determination of the existence and scope of a duty involves a
number of factors, including most notably the foreseeability
of the harm suffered by the complaining party.” In
re Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. LLC, 624 F.3d at
211. A harm is “a foreseeable consequence . . . if . .
. [it] might have been anticipated by a reasonably thoughtful
person . . . as a probable result of the act or
omission . . . .” Id. (emphasis added).
Plaintiff has offered no evidence that falling into the water
while attempting to board the Mr. Clint was a probable result
of the Revelation sailing to another part of the oil field
while Plaintiff worked alone on the platform. See
Rec. Docs. 54; 61. Plaintiff has therefore failed to meet his
burden to raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect
to each element of his negligence claim. See
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586-88; Lindsey, 16
F.3d at 618-19; In re Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co.
LLC, 624 F.3d at 211.
fact, the evidence suggests that Plaintiff's fall was not
anticipated as a probable result of the Revelation leaving
the platform while Plaintiff worked. A set of guidelines that
governed solitary work on oil platforms required
“transportation [to] be available within the immediate
area not to exceed 1 hour[, ]” taking into account
“weather conditions.” Rec. Doc. 60-3 at 2. Any
duty created by this policy would not encompass the
Revelation's actions in the instant case because the
Revelation was less than an hour from the Plaintiff when he
fell. See Rec. Docs. 60-1 ¶ 29; 61-1
¶ 29. Not to mention that the policy says
nothing about which boat must ...