RYAN LEE STRODER, INDIVIDUALLY, ETC.
HILCORP ENERGY COMPANY, ET AL.
FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST.
LANDRY, NO. 13-C-2840-D HONORABLE D. JASON MECHE, DISTRICT
JUDGE, REVERSED AND REMANDED.
HOWARD EZELL, JUDGE Dan Edward West McGlinchey, Stafford
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Westchester Surplus Lines
Gerard Artall Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Ryan Lee Stroder, Ryan Lee Stroder as
natural tutor of Olivia Stroder
Jamar Rozas LeBas Law Offices 2 Flagg Place, Suite 1
Lafayette, LA COUNSEL FOR INTERVENOR/APPELLEE: American
Interstate Insurance Company
Sartain Emmett Christopher M. Hannan Kimberly C. Delk Baker,
Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Monty "Monkey" Lanthier
Thomas Stevens and Associates, L.L.C.
Michael Guillot Christy L. McMannen Christovich & Kearney
L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Freddie Grimaldo
Gulf Coast Brokerage, LLC
Paul Merchant NeunerPate COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE:
Hilcorp Energy Company
Catherine N. Thigpen Degan, Blanchard & Nash COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Darwin National Assurance Company
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Billy Howard Ezell, and
Candyce G. Perret, Judges.
Stroder appeals two judgments of the trial court below, one
granting summary judgment in favor of Monty Lanthier and
Thomas Stevens and Associates, L.L.C., and another granting
summary judgment in favor of Freddie Grimaldo and Gulf Coast
Brokerage, L.L.C. (hereinafter collectively referred to as
the Defendants). For the following reasons, we reverse the
decisions of the trial court and remand the case for further
October 17, 2012, Mr. Stroder was employed by MyVac, L.L.C.
as a truck driver. That day, Mr. Stroder was called to a land
based oil rig operated by Hilcorp Energy Company to transport
drilling mud for waste disposal. Mr. Lanthier, an employee of
Thomas Stevens and Associates, was acting as an independently
contracted "company man" supervising the rig
operations. Mr. Grimaldo, who was employed by Gulf Coast, was
acting as solids control operator and was in charge of
disposal of the drilling fluids.
he was capable of driving a tank or bottle truck, Mr. Stroder
arrived at the rig in an open-ended dump truck, as ordered by
Defendants. Upon viewing the mud to be transported, Mr.
Stroder felt that it was too fluid to be hauled in that
truck. Mr. Stroder had previously been warned not to haul mud
that was "too liquidy" in the open-ended truck due
to the likelihood of it sloshing or shifting during
transport. Mr. Stroder was concerned enough that he offered
to return to MyVac and get his bottle truck to haul the mud.
Despite these concerns, Mr. Stroder claims he was assured
multiple times that the load was safe to transport. The mud
was ultimately loaded in the truck by Mr. Grimaldo, and Mr.
Stroder left the rig. While driving through an "s"
curve a few miles from the rig, the load shifted in the
trailer, causing the truck to overturn. Mr. Stroder suffered
severe injuries as a result.
Stroder filed suit against Hilcorp and eventually Defendants,
who all filed motions for summary judgment. Hilcorp was
dismissed on summary judgment, and that ruling was not
appealed. Defendants each claimed that they owed no duty to
Mr. Stroder, as federal and Louisiana administrative law
imposed a duty on Mr. Stroder alone, as a commercial driver,
to secure his load. The trial court ...