United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.
litigation arises out of a longshoreman's allegations
that he suffered a disabling hip injury when he slipped on
mud while performing a casing operation on a drill ship.
Guidry was employed as a field service representative by VAM
USA, LLC, a subcontractor of Shell. VAM performed casing
operations aboard the Noble Bully 1, a drill ship located in
the Gulf of Mexico, which was owned by Noble Drilling
Services. The drilling operation involved lowering a casing,
a large-diameter pipe, into the ocean floor. The casing is
made up of casing joints, or long steel pipes, which are
attached with threads on each end that join them
together. Guidry would walk from his computer to the
drill floor where he would wipe off the threads of the casing
joint and inspect the joint for abnormalities before the crew
assembled it. As the driller operator ran the casing pipe
down into the ocean floor, oily mud would overflow from the
casing and accumulate at the base of the drilling floor.
early morning of May 11, 2015, Guidry was inspecting the
joint casing while standing upon the drilling floor, which
was covered in mud. Guidry slipped and allegedly sustained
injuries to his back, ligaments, muscles, and nervous system.
On May 4, 2016, he sued Noble Drilling Services, Inc, Noble
Drilling Exploration Company, and Noble Drilling (U.S.), LLC,
claiming that he was injured as a result of the
defendant's negligence and seeking relief under general
maritime law and the Longshoremen's and Harbor
Workers' Compensation Act. It is undisputed that Guidry
is not a Jones Act seaman. The defendants have moved for
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 instructs that summary judgment is
proper if the record discloses no genuine dispute as to any
material fact such that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. No genuine dispute of fact
exists if the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party.
See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). A genuine dispute of
fact exists only "if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving
party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
mere argued existence of a factual dispute does not defeat an
otherwise properly supported motion. See id. In this
regard, the non-moving party must do more than simply deny
the allegations raised by the moving party. See Donaghey
v. Ocean Drilling & Exploration Co., 974 F.2d 646,
649 (5th Cir. 1992). Rather, he must come forward with
competent evidence, such as affidavits or depositions, to
buttress his claims. Id. Hearsay evidence and
unsworn documents that cannot be presented in a form that
would be admissible in evidence at trial do not qualify as
competent opposing evidence. Martin v. John W. Stone Oil
Distrib., Inc., 819 F.2d 547, 549 (5th Cir. 1987);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). "[T]he nonmoving party cannot
defeat summary judgment with conclusory allegations,
unsubstantiated assertions, or only a scintilla of
evidence." Hathaway v. Bazany, 507 F.3d 312,
319 (5th Cir. 2007)(internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). Ultimately, "[i]f the evidence is merely
colorable . . . or is not significantly probative, "
summary judgment is appropriate. Id. at 249
(citations omitted); King v. Dogan, 31 F.3d 344, 346
(5th Cir. 1994) (“Unauthenticated documents are
improper as summary judgment evidence.”).
judgment is also proper if the party opposing the motion
fails to establish an essential element of his case. See
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
In deciding whether a fact issue exists, courts must view the
facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris,
550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). Although the Court must
"resolve factual controversies in favor of the nonmoving
party, " it must do so "only where there is an
actual controversy, that is, when both parties have submitted
evidence of contradictory facts." Antoine v. First
Student, Inc., 713 F.3d 824, 830 (5th Cir.
2013)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
succeed in a negligence claim under general maritime law,
“[t]he plaintiff must demonstrate that there was a duty
owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, breach of that duty,
injury sustained by [the] plaintiff, and a causal connection
between defendant's conduct and the plaintiff's
injury.” In re Cooper/T. Smith, 929 F.2d 1073,
1077 (5th Cir. 1991). “It is a settled principle of
maritime law that a shipowner owes the duty of exercising
reasonable care towards those lawfully aboard the vessel who
are not members of the crew.” Kermarec v. Compagnie