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Mays v. C-Dive LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

March 13, 2018

JASON MAYS
v.
C-DIVE LLC ET AL.

         SECTION “H” (5)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JANE TRICHE MILAZZO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Contractual Additional Insured Status (Doc. 74). For the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         This is a consolidated action of five cases arising from a pipeline explosion. Plaintiffs Jason Mays, Brian Beadell, Matthew Boyd, and Adam Zima (“Plaintiffs”) allege that they worked for C-Dive, LLC (“C-Dive”) aboard its vessel, the DSV MS KERCI. According to Plaintiffs, the DSV MS KERCI was servicing a pipeline owned by Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP (“Gulf South”) in the Gulf of Mexico. During work on August 26, 2015, there was a release of gas that caused an explosion and injured Plaintiffs.

         The following business relationships involving the pipeline work are undisputed. The pipeline in question was owned and operated by Gulf South, a subsidiary of Boardwalk Pipelines, LP (“Boardwalk Pipelines”). In January 2011, Boardwalk Pipelines entered into a Master Services Agreement (“MSA”) with C-Dive. The MSA was a blanket contract that did not itself authorize any specific work but that would be followed by work orders between the parties adopting the terms of the MSA. On August 11, 2015, C-Dive and Gulf South entered into a work order, the Scope of Work Agreement (“SWA”), whereby C-Dive was to decommission the pipeline later involved in the explosion.

         The SWA between C-Dive and Gulf South contains a provision incorporating the MSA. The MSA applies to, at least in part, both Boardwalk Pipelines and its subsidiaries, including Gulf South. The agreement is “by and between BOARDWALK PIPELINES, LP (hereinafter referred to as ‘Boardwalk') and C-DIVE, LLC, ” and provides that “[r]eference to Boardwalk shall also include its subsidiaries and direct or indirect affiliates of Boardwalk, including but not limited to . . . Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.”[1] The MSA requires C-Dive to maintain certain insurance and further states that, “All policies, with the exception of Worker's Compensation and Professional Liability, shall be endorsed to include Boardwalk Pipelines, LP as additional insured and these policies will respond as primary to any other insurance available to Boardwalk.”[2]

         In separate consolidated actions, Plaintiffs bring claims for negligence, Jones Act negligence, and unseaworthiness against C-Dive and Gulf South. In the final consolidated matter, C-Dive seeks a limitation of liability pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 30505. Gulf South makes cross-claims in each of the consolidated actions against C-Dive, alleging that C-Dive is required to defend and indemnify Gulf South under the MSA. Gulf South also makes third-party claims in each of the consolidated actions against Catlin Insurance Company (“Catlin”) and New York Marine & General Insurance Company (“New York Marine”) as an additional insured under policies those companies issued to C-Dive. Gulf South asserts that the MSA requires C-Dive to make Gulf South an additional insured on C-Dive's comprehensive general liability policies issued by Catlin and New York Marine, triggering coverage for Gulf South via automatic additional insured clauses in those policies.

         C-Dive, Catlin, and New York Marine previously moved for summary judgment seeking dismissal of Gulf South's claims for additional insured status under C-Dive's policies. This Court denied that Motion. Gulf South now moves for a partial summary judgment, holding that it is a contractual named additional insured under the policies of insurance issued by Catlin and New York Marine.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate if “the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations. . ., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials” “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”[3] A genuine issue of fact exists only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”[4]

         In determining whether the movant is entitled to summary judgment, the Court views facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draws all reasonable inferences in his favor.[5] “If the moving party meets the initial burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to produce evidence or designate specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial.”[6] Summary judgment is appropriate if the non-movant “fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case.”[7] “In response to a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmovant must identify specific evidence in the record and articulate the manner in which that evidence supports that party's claim, and such evidence must be sufficient to sustain a finding in favor of the nonmovant on all issues as to which the nonmovant would bear the burden of proof at trial.”[8] The Court does “not . . . in the absence of any proof, assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts.”[9] Additionally, “[t]he mere argued existence of a factual dispute will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion.”[10]

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         In its prior order addressing the Motion filed by C-Dive, Catlin, and New York Marine, the Court held that the language of the MSA was clear and that it unambiguously required C-Dive to name Boardwalk Pipelines, LP and its subsidiaries, including Gulf South, as additional insureds on its insurance policies.[11] In their Motion, C-Dive, Catlin, and New York Marine argued that because the MSA's additional insured provision refers to “Boardwalk Pipelines, LP, ” rather than the shorthand “Boardwalk, ” C-Dive was only obligated to add Boardwalk Pipelines, LP, and not its subsidiaries, as additional insureds. They argued that the terms “Boardwalk” and “Boardwalk Pipelines, LP” have different meanings within the MSA and that only the former encompasses Boardwalk Pipelines' subsidiaries. The Court held ...


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