United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
B. Whitehurst, Magistrate Judge
the undersigned is an unopposed Rule 12(b)(6) Motion To Dismiss
filed by Defendant St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance
Company [Rec. Doc. 54]. For the following reasons, the
defendants' motion will be granted.
lawsuit concerns an accident that took place in the Gulf of
Mexico at Eugene Island Block 338K, which is located 70-85
miles off the shore of Louisiana. R. 1 at Â¶ 3.
Plaintiff alleges that on May 25, 2015, he and several other
individuals were being moved from a platform owned by
defendant Arena Offshore, LP (“Arena”) to a
vessel, the MV Ms. Claire, via the platform's crane.
Id. at Â¶ 7. As the personnel basket
approached the vessel, a deckhand on the MV Ms. Claire
grabbed the personnel basket's tag line in order to
control its descent. Id.
thereafter, the tag line broke causing the basket to spin out
of control. Id. The crane operator, unaware of the
spinning basket, continued to lower it to toward the deck of
the M/V Ms. Claire. Id. As a result, the basket
struck the railing on the M/V Ms. Claire allegedly causing
the Plaintiff to fall to the deck of the M/V Ms. Claire and
sustain injuries. Id.
Complaint asserts a Direct Action claim against St. Paul in
its capacity as a liability insurer of Arena. R. 30 at
¶ 10(B). As alleged, St. Paul issued an insurance
policy to Arena bearing the policy number ZLP-13T91472-14-N4
for the policy period of November 20, 2014 to November 20,
2015 (the “Policy”). R. 54-3.
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard
12(b)(6) allows a defendant to move for expeditious dismissal
when a plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. In ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, “[t]he
court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” In re
Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205
(5th Cir.2007). However, “the tenet that a
court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in
a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Further, “[t]o survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss, the plaintiff must plead enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level, on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact).” In re Katrina Canal Breaches
Litigation, 495 F.3d at 205.
deciding a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court “must
consider the complaint in its entirety, as well as ...
documents incorporated into the complaint by reference, and
matters of which a court may take judicial notice.”
Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd.,
551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007); see also Collins v. Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 498-99
(5th Cir. 2000) (“[W]e note approvingly,
however, that various other circuits have specifically
allowed that ‘[d]ocuments that a defendant attaches to
a motion to dismiss are considered part of the pleadings if
they are referred to in the plaintiff's complaint and are
central to her claim.”).
contends and Plaintiff does not dispute, that Plaintiff's
complaint fails to state a claim against St. Paul upon which
relief can be granted because the Louisiana Direct Action
Statute, La. R.S. 22:1269, is inapplicable to this case as a
matter of law. The Court agrees.
Direct Action Statute applies in cases governed by Louisiana
law only if (1) the accident at issue occurred in Louisiana,
or (2) the policy was issued or delivered in Louisiana -
neither of which condition is met here. More significantly,
because Plaintiff's Complaint asserts a maritime tort,
maritime law applies to Plaintiff's claim of its own
force. Hamm v. Island Operating Co., Inc., 450
Fed.Appx. 365, 369 (5th Cir. 2011) (citing
Strong v. B.P. Exploration & Prod., Inc., 440
F.3d 665, 670 (5th Cir.2006) (holding that because the
plaintiff “has alleged a traditional maritime tort,
federal maritime law applies of its own force”). The
Fifth Circuit has expressly held that the Louisiana Direct
Action Statute does not apply in cases governed by maritime
law because maritime law is a complete body of law that fully
and solely governs such disputes. See, e.g., Continental
Oil Co. v. London Steam-Ship Owners' Mutual Ins.
Ass'n, 417 F.2d 1030 (5th Cir. 1969); Nations v.
Morris, 483 F.2d 577, 589-590 (5th Cir. 1973) citing
Continental Oil Co. (Holding that case was clearly a
maritime claim under the Extension of Admiralty Jurisdiction
Act and the maritime law provided a comprehensive body of law
including rights, remedies and procedures for their
enforcement, the Direct Action Statute was unnecessary as
there was no gap”).