JOHN THIBODEAUX AND AMY THIBODEAUX, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF EMILY THIBODEAUX AND GABRIELLE THIBODEAUX
GULFGATE CONSTRUCTION, LLC, ET AL.
FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. 2015-4167 HONORABLE JULES D. EDWARDS, III,
A. Eiden Rabalais & Hebert, Counsel for
Defendant/Appellant: J. M. Drilling LLC
Cohen, Melanie Lockett, Lowe, Stein, Hoffman, Allweiss &
Hauver, L.L.P., Counsel for Defendant/Appellee: Water &
Wastewater Utilities, Inc.
M. Reeves, Maricle & Associates, Counsel for
Defendant/Appellee: Gulfgate Construction, LLC
Michael Menard, Attorney at Law, Counsel for
Plaintiffs/Appellees: John Thibodeaux, Amy Thibodeaux,
Gabrielle Thibodeaux, Emily Thibodeaux
Taulbee, Attorney at Law, Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellees:
John Thibodeaux, Amy Thibodeaux, Gabrielle Thibodeaux, Emily
M. Legrand, Marshall G. Weaver, Legrand Law Firm, Counsel for
Intervenor/Appellee: Bellsouth Telecommunications, LLC
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Phyllis M.
Keaty, and Candyce G. Perret, Judges.
PHYLLIS M. KEATY JUDGE.
J. M. Drilling LLC (J. M. Drilling), appeals the trial
court's granting of a motion for summary judgment in
favor of Defendant/Appellee, Water & Wastewater
Utilities, Inc. (Wastewater). For the following reasons, the
trial court's judgment is affirmed.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
negligence matter arose on June 9, 2015, when Plaintiff, John
Thibodeaux, injured his right leg while splicing fiber optic
cable on behalf of his employer, American Telephone &
Telegraph (AT&T), at 114 Meadow Gate Drive in the
Sawgrass subdivision in Lafayette, Louisiana. Thibodeaux had
to access hand holes, which are rectangular, underground
vaults where fiber optic cables come together and are
spliced. The two hand holes at issue were equipped with
covers that rested on top of the ground. They were located
near a rectangular, pre-cast slab which held an AT&T
cabinet. On the day of his accident, Thibodeaux lifted a hand
hole cover and placed it by the AT&T cabinet when the
ground beneath him gave way, causing his right leg to fall
into a hole, sustaining injury.
to Thibodeaux's accident, Gulfgate Construction, LLC
(Gulfgate Construction), and J. M. Drilling performed work on
the property pursuant to separate contracts with AT&T.
Gulfgate Construction's job, which was the F1 part of the
project, consisted of preparing a pre-cast slab, installing a
cabinet on top of the pre-cast slab, digging two hand holes,
and feeding fiber optic cable into hand hole number two.
After Gulfgate Construction finished its job, J. M. Drilling
performed the F2 part of the project, which consisted of
installing fiber optic cable by accessing the hand holes and
feeding the cable out to the rest of the subdivision.
alleged that during operations, Gulfgate Construction and/or
J. M. Drilling struck and damaged an underground sewer force
main line. The main line purportedly began leaking and caused
a washout under the pre-cast slab upon which the AT&T
cabinet was situated, ultimately forming the hole into which
Thibodeaux fell. The main line, which ran from a sewer lift
station on the property to the street, belonged to
Wastewater, the owner and operator of the lift station.
Gulfgate Construction repaired Wastewater's broken main
line after Thibodeaux's accident. Wastewater had not
marked its main line prior to the ...