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Coleman v. Halcon Resources Corp.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

March 21, 2018

DERRICK COLEMAN
v.
HALCON RESOURCES CORP., ET AL.

          WHITEHURST MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          DONALD E. WALTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court in this personal injury suit involving a workplace accident is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. #61] filed by Defendant Halcon Resources Corporation ("Halcon Resources"). Pursuant to its motion, Defendant seeks dismissal with prejudice of all claims asserted by pro se Plaintiff Derrick Coleman, on the basis that Defendant had "no involvement in or connection to the well where the alleged incident occurred, " and therefore Defendant owed no duty to Plaintiff. Id. Defendant alternatively argues summary judgment is warranted, "because Plaintiff has no evidence to support several of the essential elements of his claims ...." Id. For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed this negligence suit against Halcon Resources Corporation and Halcon Operating Co., Inc. ("Halcon Operating") for injuries he alleges he incurred in a workplace accident. [Docs. #1, 27], Plaintiff, a floor hand employed by Pioneer Well Services, LLC ("Pioneer"), was part of a Pioneer crew performing well-completion services on Black Stone Well 4H-2 ("Well"), located at or near Woodville, Mississippi. See Coleman v. Halcon Res. Corp., No. 6:15-CV-2086, 2017 WL 2509151, at * 1 (W.D. La. June 7, 2017); see also Doc. 61-2 at ¶¶ 5, 8-9. Pioneer was performing the well-completion services pursuant to a Master Service Contract between Pioneer and Halcon Operating. Id. at 5; see also Doc. 61-2 at ¶ 8. The well was operated by Halcon Operating; it was owned by a third party, HK TMS, LLC.[1] [Doc. # 61-2 at ¶¶ 5, 17].

         Plaintiff alleges on July 30, 2014, he was replacing a nut on the wellhead when he slipped and landed on the pointed handle of a needle valve, resulting in bodily injuries. Coleman at * 1; see also Doc. #1 at ¶ 8. Following the incident, Plaintiff sought and received medical and indemnity benefits from Pioneer under the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act ("LWCA"), La. R.S. 23:1020.1, et seq. Id. On July 21, 2015, Plaintiff filed this suit against Halcon Resources and Halcon Operating, seeking general tort damages for negligence. [Doc. #1].

         After suit was filed, Halcon Resources and Halcon Operating filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. #36] seeking dismissal with prejudice of all claims asserted by Plaintiff, arguing Plaintiff was the statutory employee of both defendants at the time of the incident sued upon, and therefore movants were immune from suit in tort under Louisiana law. Coleman at *1. On June 7, 2017, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of Halcon Operating, finding it was Plaintiffs statutory employer under the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act ("LWCA") by virtue of the Master Service Contract between Pioneer and Halcon Operating, and therefore Halcon Operating was immune from tort liability as a matter of law. Id. at *5-7. The Court denied summary judgment with regard to Halcon Resources, finding that entity was "not entitled to statutory employer status under the LWCA, " as the Master Service Contract between Pioneer and Halcon Operating contained "no language extending statutory employer status to Halcon Resources. .., "[2] Id. at *8.

         Defendant Halcon Resources now seeks dismissal with prejudice of all claims asserted by Plaintiff, arguing it had no involvement in or connection to the well where Plaintiff alleges he was injured, and therefore it owed no duty to Plaintiff. Alternatively, Defendant argues summary judgment is warranted, because "Plaintiff has no evidence to support several of the essential elements of his claims...." [Doc. 61]. The following facts are not in dispute[3]:

4. Halcon Resources has no physical assets, as it only owns interests in various subsidiaries and other entities.
5. Halcon Operating ... was the designated operator of the... Black Stone 4H-2 well (the "Well").
. . . .
13. Halcon Resources had no involvement with the Well-it (i) did not own, operate, or manage the Well or equipment in question; (ii) did not employ, supervise, or control Plaintiff or his work; (iii) did not employ, supervise, or control any personnel working on the Well; and (iv) did not have any connection whatsoever to the facts giving rise to Plaintiffs claims.
. . . .
15. Halcon Resources had absolutely no involvement in, or connection to, the facts giving rise to Plaintiffs claims in this lawsuit because Halcon Resources:
a. Did not own or operate the Well in question;
b. Did not own or operate the subject drilling rig;
c. Did not enter into a contractual relationship with any entity regarding the work on the Well in question and did not direct or control the work of anyone working on the Well;
d. Did not own, operate, manufacture, sell, or repair any of the equipment at issue or any of the equipment on the Well in question; e. Did not control or supervise any ...

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