United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
B. WHITEHURST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Consent of the Parties
the Court is Plaintiffs, Rory L. Castille and Natasha
Castille's, Brief In Support Of Declaratory Judgment
[Rec. Doc. 286] and Memoranda in support of Rule 12(c) Motion
For Judgment On The Pleadings Regarding Waiver Of Subrogation
filed by Total Safety U.S., Inc. [Rec. Doc. 287] and Zurich
American Insurance Company [Rec. Doc. 293]. For the following
reasons, the Court will GRANT Plaintiffs' Declaratory
action arises out of an accident on October 13, 2012, in
which Rory Castille (hereinafter “Castille”)
sustained personal injuries and damages while working on
Apache's West Cameron 111-F unmanned satellite production
platform (“WC 111-F”), on the Outer Continental
Shelf. At the time of the accident, Castille was employed by
Total Safety U.S., Inc. (“Total Safety”) as a
technician for navigational aids and fire-fighting equipment.
Castille alleges he was injured when, after opening the door
to the wellhead master control panel (“MCP”) on
WC 111-F, he was engulfed by a flash fire. R. 1. It
is undisputed that Louisiana law applies to this case.
November 14, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Rule 19 Motion To
Compel Zurich and Total Safety U.S. Inc. As Required Joinder
Of Parties And Alternative Memorandum In Support of
Declaratory Judgment Under 28 USC § 2201. R.
266. Plaintiffs contended that, “on information
and belief, ” Zurich and Total Safety “may
jointly or separately be seeking certain rights of
subrogation for potential reimbursement of workers'
compensation benefits paid” to Rory L. Castille.
Id. Sole Defendant, Apache Deepwater, LLC
(“Apache”), filed a Memorandum In Response
stating that it had no objection to a declaratory action as
between Zurich, Total Safety and the Plaintiffs with respect
to the compensation intervention, and whether those
subrogation rights have been waived by Total Safety and/or
Zurich. R. 272.
January 31, 2018, the Court construed Plaintiffs' motion
as one to amend its Complaint and add a Declaratory Judgment
action against Total Safety and Zurich. The Court granted the
motion and ordered that they amend their Complaint to assert
such action. The Amended Complaint was filed on February 6,
2018. Total Safety and Zurich answered the complaint on
February 21, 2018. On the same date, the parties filed the
memoranda before the Court as to whether or not Total Safety
and/or Zurich contractually waived their rights of
subrogation of their claims for reimbursement of workers'
compensation benefits paid to Castille.
Contentions of the Parties
contend that Total Safety accepted full indemnification
within the indemnity clause in the Master Service Contract
(“MSC”) between it and Apache. R. 285-1.
Plaintiffs further contend that, as required by the MSC,
Total Safety and Zurich, Total Safety's insurer, were
bound through a Waiver of Subrogation Clause wherein they
waived any rights to seek subrogation or reimbursement for
all insurance coverage including worker's compensation
payments made to injured employees such as Castille. Id.,
Exh. A, ¶ 8. Plaintiffs seek a declaration that
Zurich and Total Safety are bound by the terms of the MSC,
including honoring their waiver of subrogation rights, and
are not entitled to enforce a lien on any proposed settlement
or judgment that Plaintiffs may enter into.
Safety and Zurich argue that the LOAIA, Section G, applies to
the waiver of subrogation rights in the MSC executed by Total
Safety and Zurich. They contend that Section G of the LOAIA
prevents Total Safety from being held liable in tort, as the
indemnitor of Apache, and also under the LHWCA, by paying
worker's compensation benefits to Castille. Total Safety
and Zurich further contend, in the alternative, that even if
the Court holds that Section G of the LOAIA does not apply
and there is no impediment to the waiver of subrogation, the
MSC itself provides that the waiver is ineffective as to the
claim. R. 287-2, Exh. A, ¶ 12.
their memoranda, the parties request declaratory relief in
the form of a legal conclusion by the Court on the issue of
the waiver of subrogation as it relates to the Louisiana
Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act (“LOAIA”). Total
Safety styles its memorandum as a Motion For Judgment On The
Pleadings and Zurich adopts Total Safety's motion. R.
287, 293. The Court will accordingly consider this
requested relief in the context of judgment on the pleadings
in a declaratory judgment action. See, e.g., Caliste v.
Cantrell, 2017 WL 6344152, at *2 (E.D.La.,
2017)(applying Judgment on the Pleadings standard of review
in declaratory judgment action involving interpretation of
CGL insurance policy).
may move for judgment on the pleadings after the pleadings
are closed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). The purpose of Rule 12(c) is
to dispose of cases where the material facts are not in
dispute and a judgment on the merits can be rendered by
looking to the substance of the pleadings and any judicially
noticed facts. Great Plains Trust. Co. v. Morgan Stanley
Dean Witter & Co., 313 F.3d 305, 312 (5th Cir.
2002). In deciding a 12(c) motion, the Court “accepts
all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff.” In re Katrina
Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir.
2007). To avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Judgment on the
pleadings is appropriate where there are no disputed issues
of material fact and only questions of law remain.
Stewart v. Grand Isle Shipyard, Inc., 2011 WL
6778804, at *1-2 (E.D. La. Dec. 23, 2011). As a general rule,
in considering a Rule 12(c) motion, a district court must
limit itself to the facts stated in the complaint. Hughes
v. Tobacco Inst., Inc., 278 F.3d 417, 420 (5th Cir.
2001). The Fifth Circuit has made exceptions to this
limitation. See Herbert Abstract Co. v. Touchstone
Props., Ltd., 914 F.2d 74, 76 (5th Cir. 1990) (holding
that a district court may look to the substance of the
pleadings and any judicially noticed facts); see also
Voest-Alpine Trading USA Corp. v. Bank of China, 142
F.3d 887 (5th Cir. 1998) (holding that the district court
could consider documents attached to the complaint);
Great Plains Trust Co. v. Morgan Stanley Dean
Witter & Co., 313 F.3d 305, 310 (5th Cir.
2002)(affirming district court's Rule 12(c) dismissal
where the court considered documents that were referred to in
the complaint even though they were not physically attached
to the complaint). Nonetheless, granting a Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings “is appropriate only if
material facts are not in dispute and questions of law are
all that remain.” Voest-Alpine Trading USA Corp. v.
Bank of China, 142 F.3d 887, 891 (5th Cir.