United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
NANNETTE JOLIVETTE BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Halliburton Energy Services'
(“HESI”) “Motion to Dismiss Certain Claims
Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).” In this matter, Plaintiff
Lori Comeaux (“Plaintiff”) brings claims for
negligence individually and on behalf of decedent, Melvin A.
Comeaux, Jr., under the Jones Act, general maritime law, and
December 27, 2017, HESI filed the instant
motion. Therein, HESI argues that Plaintiff's
claims for damages related to the decedent's alleged
future medical expenses fail as matter of law because those
damages do not exist given the decedent's
death. HESI also argues that Plaintiff's
claims for non-pecuniary damages fail as a matter of law
because those damages are not recoverable by a seaman under
the Jones Act or general maritime law. Finally, HESI
contends that Plaintiff's claims for punitive damages
fail because punitive damages are not recoverable under the
Jones Act or general maritime law.
January 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed a memorandum in opposition
to the motion to dismiss.In the memorandum, Plaintiff first
asserts that she is not pursuing future medical
expenses.Second, Plaintiff contends that heirs of a
deceased seaman are entitled to recovery non-pecuniary and
punitive damages. Moreover, Plaintiff contends that
non-pecuniary and punitive damages are available because
“decedent was not a Jones Act employee of all
defendants at all times of his exposure to toxic substances
that resulted in his death, nor was he a Jones Act employee
of HESI during the entirety of his exposure attributable to
January 19, 2018, with leave of Court, HESI filed a reply
brief in further support of the motion to
dismiss. In the reply, HESI contends that seamen
are not entitled to punitive damages under Fifth Circuit law,
and to the extent Plaintiff argued in the opposition that the
decedent was not a Jones Act seaman, there is no factual
basis to support this allegation in the
February 5, 2018, with leave of Court, Plaintiff filed a
First Supplemental and Amended Complaint. In the
amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges “additionally and
in the alternative, that decedent's work during the
relevant time period was not constantly in the capacity as
crewman upon defendants' vessels or in the service of
those vessels.” Therefore, Plaintiff makes an
alternative claim that decedent was not a Jones Act seamen at
all relevant times.
vary in how they proceed when a plaintiff files an amended
complaint while a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is still
pending. Many district courts-including this
Court-routinely deny as moot motions to dismiss that are
filed prior to an amendment of a complaint. Although
courts may address the merits of a motion to dismiss even
after an amended complaint is filed, as a general rule,
“if applying the pending motion to the amended
complaint would cause confusion or detract from the efficient
resolution of the issues, then it makes sense to require the
defendant to file a new motion specifically addressing the
Plaintiff has amended the complaint to allege an alternative
claim that decedent was not a Jones Act seamen at all times
relevant to the claims asserted in this litigation. In the
motion to dismiss, HESI contends that Fifth Circuit law
precludes non-pecuniary and punitive damages for seamen.
Therefore, the Court concludes that, should HESI wish to
challenge the amended complaint, it would be more efficient
for the Court to consider any arguments regarding dismissal
in a motion that is better tailored to the causes of action
now pending in this matter. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that HESI's “Motion to Dismiss
Certain Claims Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)” is
DENIED AS MOOT.
 Rec. Doc. 10.
See Rec. Doc. 1.