United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
David Collins (“Collins”) alleges that he slipped
and fell down a flight of stairs on a vessel owned by
defendant Cenac Marine Services, LLC (“Cenac”).
At the time, Cenac employed Collins.
the Court is Cenac's motion for partial summary judgment on
the grounds that Cenac does not owe maintenance and cure
related to mental health conditions preexisting Collins'
employment with Cenac. Collins opposes the motion.
judgment is proper when, after reviewing the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits, the court determines that there is no genuine
dispute of material fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
“[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion and identifying those portions of [the
record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The moving party need
not produce evidence negating the existence of material fact,
but need only point out the absence of evidence supporting
the other party's case. Id.; Fontenot v.
Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d 1190, 1195 (5th Cir. 1986).
the party seeking summary judgment carries its initial
burden, the nonmoving party must come forward with specific
facts showing that there is a genuine dispute of material
fact for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The showing of a
genuine issue of material fact is not satisfied by creating
“‘some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts, ' by ‘conclusory allegations, ' by
‘unsubstantiated assertions, ' or by only a
‘scintilla' of evidence.” Little v.
Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). Instead, a genuine issue of material
fact exists when the “evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
party responding to the motion for summary judgment may not
rest upon the pleadings, but must identify specific facts
that establish a genuine issue. Id. However, the
nonmoving party's evidence “is to be believed, and
all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [the nonmoving
party's] favor.” Id. at 255; see also
Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552 (1999).
“[a]lthough the substance or content of the evidence
submitted to support or dispute a fact on summary judgment
must be admissible . . ., the material may be presented in a
form that would not, in itself, be admissible at
trial.” Lee v. Offshore Logistical & Transp.,
LLC, 859 F.3d 353, 355 (5th Cir. 2017) (quoting 11
Moore's Federal Practice-Civil ¶ 56.91 (2017)).
“This flexibility allows the court to consider the
evidence that would likely be admitted at trial . . . without
imposing on parties the time and expense it takes to
authenticate everything in the record.” Maurer v.
Independence Town, No. 16-30673, 2017 WL 3866561, at *3
(5th Cir. Sept. 5, 2017).
and cure is a contractual form of compensation afforded by
the general maritime law to seamen who fall ill or are
injured while in the service of a vessel.” Jauch v.
Nautical Serv., Inc., 470 F.3d 207, 212 (5th Cir. 2006)
(per curiam) (paraphrasing McCorpen v. Cent. Gulf S.S.
Corp., 396 F.2d 547, 548 (5th Cir. 1968)). “The
shipowner's obligation is deep-rooted in maritime law and
is an incident or implied term of a contract for maritime
employment.” McCorpen, 396 F.2d at 548. Thus,
“[a] seaman may recover maintenance and cure even for
injuries or illnesses pre-existing the seaman's
employment unless that seaman knowingly or fraudulently
concealed his condition from the vessel owner at the time he
was employed.” Jauch, 470 F.3d at 212
(paraphrasing McCorpen, 396 F.2d at 548).
Fifth Circuit has explained, “[i]n cases involving
pre-existing conditions, courts distinguish between
nondisclosure and concealment.” Id.
If a vessel owner does not require a pre-employment medical
examination or interview, a seaman must disclose his
condition “when in [the seaman's] own opinion the
shipowner would consider it a matter of importance.”
If, however, the vessel owner does require the seaman to
submit to medical examination as part of its hiring process,
a seaman who misrepresents or conceals any material medical
facts, disclosure of which is plainly desired, risks
forfeiture of his maintenance and cure benefits.
Id. (quoting McCorpen, 396 F.2d at 548-49).
order to establish the so-called McCorpen defense, a
vessel owner must prove three elements: “(1) the
claimant intentionally misrepresented or concealed medical
facts; (2) the non-disclosed facts were material to the
employer's decision to hire the claimant; and (3) a
connection exists between the withheld information and the
injury complained of in the lawsuit.” Brown v.
Parker Drilling Offshore Corp., 410 F.3d 166, 171 (5th
Cir. 2005) (Clement, J.).
asserts the McCorpen defense with respect to
Collins' preexisting mental health issues. It argues that
the facts material to the defense are undisputed and
conclusively show that the defense applies in this case.
Collins counters that a genuine ...