Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Marquette Transportation Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 30, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF MARQUETTE TRANSPORTATION COMPANY

          SECTION "L" (3)

          ORDER & REASONS

         Before the Court is Marquette Transportation Company's (“Marquette”) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. R. Doc. 252. Kostmayer Construction (“Kostmayer”) responds in opposition. R. Doc. 263. Also before the Court is Kostmayer's Motion for Summary Judgment. R. Doc. 253. Marquette responds in opposition. R. Doc. 261. Having reviewed the parties' briefs and the applicable law, the Court now issues this Order & Reasons.

         I. BACKGROUND

         These consolidated cases involve two accidents that occurred on the Mississippi River on two separate dates. First, on September 22, 2014, the M/V BLAKE DENTON, operated by Defendant Marquette struck the Barge CP-12, chartered to Plaintiff Kostmayer, and pushed the CP-12 into Barge OU-701, also owned by Kostmayer. R. Doc. 1-1 at 1. Both of Plaintiff's barges were tied to a dock in the Mississippi River in East Baton Rouge Parish when Barge CP-12 was struck by the M/V BLAKE DENTON, which was traveling southbound with approximately thirty-five barges in tow. R. Doc. 1-1 at 1-2. Barge CP-12 was pushed into Barge OU-701, and both barges detached from the dock and floated freely downriver until a tow boat pushed them to the east bank. R. Doc. 1-1 at 2. Plaintiff alleges that the barges sustained substantial damages as a result of the impact and required extensive repairs. R. Doc. 1-1 at 2.

         A second and unrelated accident occurred on December 29, 2014. In this accident, Marquette was operating the M/V MYRA ECKSTEIN near the Terminal 234 Dock Facility on the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, LA. According to Kostmayer's Complaint, the M/V MYRA ECKSTEIN “contacted” two other crane barges operated by Kostmayer. At the time of the accident, the crane barges were spudded down, or anchored, in the Mississippi River, in relation to work Kostmayer was completing on a mooring dolphin attached to the CEMUS dock near the 190 bridge in Baton Rouge. Plaintiffs James Ainsworth (“Ainsworth”) and Michael Bankston (“Bankston”) were employed by Kostmayer as welders, while Joseph Solomon (“Solomon”) was employed by Ameri-Force and assigned to work for Kostmayer. At the time of the accident, Ainsworth and Bankston were eating lunch on the MS DARLENE, while Solomon was working on the MS ASHLEY, the two crane barges involved in the accident. Solomon avers that when the M/V MYRA ECKSTEIN allided with the barge where he was working, he sustained personal injuries. Solomon seeks various damages, including loss of earnings and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and mental anguish and emotional trauma.

         The present motions consider the seaman and borrowed employee status of Plaintiff Solomon.

         II. PRESENT MOTIONS

         a. Defendant Marquette's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (R. Doc. 252)

         Defendant Marquette requests that the Court grant partial summary judgment as to the seaman status of Plaintiff Solomon. R. Doc. 252. Marquette alleges that Plaintiff Joseph Solomon is a Jones Act seaman and that Kostmayer was his Jones Act employer. R. Doc. 252. First, Marquette argues that Solomon is a Jones Act seaman because he performed the majority of his work from a barge, had a substantial connection to a vessel on the Mississippi River, and contributed to the accomplishment of the mission of that vessel. R. Doc. 252-1 at 9-10. Second, Marquette argues that Kostmayer was Solomon's Jones Act employer because Kostmayer had the power to control and direct Solomon's work. R. Doc. 252-1 at 13. Plaintiff Solomon adopts Marquette's position that he is a Jones Act seaman and was the borrowed employee of Kostmayer. R. Doc. 262.

         Kostmayer responds arguing that the barge on which Plaintiff Solomon worked was not a vessel because it was always stationary when Plaintiff Solomon worked on it and its primary function was not transportation on water. R. Doc. 263 at 4-5.

         b. Kostmayer's Motion for Summary Judgment (R. Doc. 253)

         Kostmayer requests that the Court dismiss Plaintiff Solomon's Jones Act claims against it on the basis that he does not meet the requirements for seaman status. R. Doc. 253. Kostmayer argues that Solomon is not a Jones Act seaman because the barges on which he worked were not vessels. R. Doc. 253-1 at 3. Rather, Kostmayer argues, the barges were stationary work platforms because they were stationary at all times worked on by Solomon, had no independent means of self-propulsion, and Solomon was not working on them the few times they were moved. R. Doc. 253-1 at 4-5. Kostmayer argues that because Solomon was not assigned to a vessel, he cannot qualify as a Jones Act seaman. R. Doc. 253 at 5.

         Marquette responds in opposition to Kostmayer's motion. R. Doc. 261. In its response, Marquette offers many of the same arguments regarding seaman status that it offered in its own motion for partial summary judgment. In addition, Marquette argues that the barge on which Plaintiff Solomon was working at the time of the accident is a vessel. R. Doc. 261 at 2. Marquette argues that because the barge was practically capable of navigation and appeared to be capable of navigation to the casual observer, the barge qualifies as a vessel under the Jones Act. R. Doc. 261 at 3.

         III. LAW ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.