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Davis v. Heniff Transportation, LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 23, 2018

CARL DAVIS AND APRIL DAVIS Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
HENIFF TRANSPORTATION, LLC, BASTROP TANK WASH, GEO SPECIALTY CHEMICALS, SPARTA INSURANCE COMPANY, ABC INSURANCE COMPANY, AND DEF INSURANCE COMPANY Defendants-Appellees

          Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Morehouse, Louisiana Trial Court No. 2015-484 Honorable Alvin Rue Sharp, Judge

          G. FREDERICK KELLY, III By: George F. Kelly, III Counsel for Appellants, Carl Davis and April Davis

          DARRYL M. BREAUX JEANSONNE & REMONDET By: Ted P. Sorrells Scott F. Higgins, Esq. Counsel for Appellees, Heniff Transportation, LLC and Arch Insurance Co.

          MUSGRAVE, MCLACHLAN & PENN, LLC By: Richard T. Musgrave Amanda H. Aucoin Counsel for Appellees, Bastrop Tank Wash

          MCCRANIE, SISTRUNK, ET AL. By: Peter J. Wanek Counsel for Appellees, GEO Specialty Chemicals

          THOMPSON HINE, LLP By: William J. Hubbard MATTHIESEN, WICKERT & LEHRER By: James T. Busenlener Carolan D. Luning Counsel for Intervenor, Zurich American Insurance Co.

          Before BROWN, COX, and MCCALLUM, JJ.

          COX, J.

         Appellants, Carl and April Davis ("Carl" and "April, " respectively), appeal a judgment from the Fourth Judicial District Court, Parish of Morehouse, State of Louisiana, wherein the trial court granted a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Appellee, Bastrop Tank Wash ("Bastrop"), and denied Appellants' motion for new trial. Carl contends that the trial court erred in finding there was no genuine issue of material fact, in ruling that Heniff Transportation, LLC ("Heniff") may continue to argue the fault of Bastrop at the jury trial, despite dismissing Bastrop from the suit, and in denying his motion for new trial. For the following reasons, we respectfully reverse the trial court's granting of Bastrop's motion for summary judgment.

         FACTS

         Carl was a self-employed independent contractor for Heniff, who worked as a licensed professional truck driver carrying dangerous chemicals. On or about December 29, 2014, Carl was attempting to deliver a tank trailer of hydrochloric acid to GEO Specialty Chemicals ("GEO"). At that time, GEO personnel noticed a defect in the hose and/or hose fittings on the tank trailer, which was owned by Heniff. As a result of the defect, Heniff instructed Carl to have the hose and fittings repaired by Bastrop. Bastrop personnel allegedly repaired the hose and fittings.

         That evening, Carl and GEO personnel, wearing mandated safety equipment, began to transfer hydrochloric acid from the tank trailer to the GEO terminal. During the process, the hose fittings ruptured, causing hydrochloric acid to escape from the fittings, knocking off Carl's eye protection and injuring his eyes, face, and body.

         On December 17, 2015, Carl filed a petition for damages against Heniff, Bastrop, GEO, Sparta Insurance Company, [1] ABC Insurance Company, and DEF Insurance Company.[2] His wife, April, joined the petition, claiming loss of consortium.

         On March 7, 2017, Bastrop filed a motion for summary judgment. Bastrop asserted that there was no issue or failure with the portion of the hose they repaired, as the portion they repaired connected the hose to the storage tank, and the portion of the hose that ...


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