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Thibodeaux v. Red Frog Events, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

May 22, 2018

LEAH THIBODEAUX
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. ALYSSA ROGERS
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. CASSANDRA BARNES AND DAVID JOSEPH BARNES
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. MARY NICOLE BURDETT AND DAVIDE MICHAEL BURDETT
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. GEORGE PETER MARSE, III, ET AL.
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. VANESSA WEST
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. KARA JO ALLEN, ET AL. RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. OLUWAFEYIASO AKINKUGBE
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. BRYAN SAMPSON
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL. MEGAN RESENDEZ
v.
RED FROG EVENTS, LLC, ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A. JACKSON CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Before the Court are Motions to Dismiss for Failure to Join, in which Defendant, Red Frog Events, LLC, ("Red Frog") seeks an order requiring Plaintiffs to join Event Medical Staffing Solutions ("EMSS"), Daniel Lauber, and/or Marcus Edwards as necessary parties, or if joinder is not feasible, to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims. For the reasons that follow, the motions are DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         These cases arise out of the collapse of a large wooden obstacle called the "Diesel Dome" at the "Warrior Dash" race on October 6, 2016. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 7, 9, 17). Plaintiffs brought suit, alleging that Red Frog, among others, is responsible for the obstacle's collapse and their resulting personal injuries. (Id. at ¶¶ 22-24).

         Red Frog, the organizer of the event, entered into a construction agreement with Peterson Builders Framing Contractors ("Peterson") to construct, oversee, maintain, and remove the "Diesel Dome." (Doc. 16-1 at p. 2). Peterson, in turn, hired North South Renovations ("NSR") to construct the "Diesel Dome." (Id.). Marcus Edwards, the owner of NSR, purchased the lumber used to construct the "Diesel Dome" and led the team that actually built the structure. (Id.). Daniel Lauber, who was either an employee or an independent contractor of NSR, participated in the construction of the "Diesel Dome." (Id.).

         In preparation for the "Warrior Dash, " Red Frog contracted with EMSS to provide emergency services to any individual who sustained injuries during the race. (Id.). As part of the contract, EMSS allegedly had the responsibility to provide sufficient staffing to supervise the participants of the event. (Id.).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(7) allows for the defense of "failure to join a party under Rule 19." Rule 19, in turn, "provides for the joinder of all parties whose presence in a lawsuit is required for the fair and complete resolution of the dispute at issue." HS Res., Inc. v. Wingate, 327 F.3d 432, 438 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a)). If a necessary party "cannot be joined, the court must determine whether, in equity and good conscience, the action should proceed among the existing parties or should be dismissed." Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(b).

         When a party claims a defense under Rule 12(b)(7), a court must engage in a two-step analysis. Wingate, 327 F.3d at 439. First, a court must decide "under Rule 19(a) whether a person should be joined to the lawsuit. If joinder is warranted, then the person will be brought into the lawsuit." Id. Second, if joinder of the person would destroy a court's jurisdiction, a court must "determine whether ... to press forward without the person or to dismiss the litigation." Id.

         The threshold issue a court must answer is whether a person is necessary to the action under Rule 19(a). Nat'l Cas. Co. v. Gonzalez, 637 Fed.Appx. 812, 815 (5th Cir. 2016). A person is necessary party if,

(A) in that person's absence, the court cannot accord complete relief among existing parties; or
(B) that person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that disposing of the action in the person's absence may:
(i) as a practical matter impair or impede the person's ability to protect the interest; or
(ii) leave an existing party subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent ...

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