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John Bludworth Shipyard, Inc. v. Capital Consultants, Inc. of Louisiana

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 5, 2018

JOHN BLUDWORTH SHIPYARD, INC. ET AL.
v.
CAPITAL CONSULTANTS, INC. OF LOUISIANA ET AL.

         SECTION: “H”

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

          JANE TRICHE MILAZZO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In June of 2014, Defendant Capital Consultants, Inc. of Louisiana (“Capital”) and Plaintiff Wire Industrial, Inc. (“Wire”) entered into a teaming agreement in which Wire agreed to handle the hiring and leasing out of laborers to customers while Capital handled certain financial and administrative matters (the “Teaming Agreement”). Thereafter, two such laborers were injured while working for Wire's customer, Plaintiff John Bludworth Shipyard Inc. (“JBS”). Wire's insurer First Mercury provided JBS with defense, indemnity, and insurance coverage for the laborers' claims against JBS. In this matter, First Mercury, JBS, and Wire seek indemnity, defense, and insurance coverage from Capital and its insurer Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (“Liberty Mutual”) for the amount paid in settlement of the laborers' claims.

         This case proceeded to a bench trial on June 4, 2018. On Defendant's Motion, the claims by JBS and Wire were dismissed during trial for failure to show damages. Having considered the evidence admitted at trial and the arguments of counsel, this Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law as to First Mercury's claim against Capital and Liberty Mutual. To the extent a finding of fact constitutes a conclusion of law, and vice versa, the Court adopts it as such.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. In June of 2014, Capital and Wire entered into a teaming agreement in which Wire agreed to handle the hiring and leasing out of laborers to customers while Capital handled certain financial and administrative matters (the “Teaming Agreement”).

         2. The parties agreed to share profits on a 50/50 basis under the Teaming Agreement.

         3. The Teaming Agreement stated that Capital “will supply all back office support including coverage of Workers Compensations, Liabilities, and taxes for payrolled employees.” It later states that Capital “will provide Liability Insurance.”

         4. Wire sought out the Teaming Agreement with Capital because of its need to procure a lower rate for worker's compensation insurance.

         5. The Teaming Agreement was intended as a short term solution to assist Wire in procuring worker's compensation insurance.

         6. There was no testimony at trial that the parties contemplated insurance coverage for indemnity agreements previously entered into by Wire when negotiating the Teaming Agreement.

         7. Capital had a company policy in which it refused to sign any agreement that required it to indemnify a third party for its own negligence.

         8. Capital would not have signed an agreement with Wire that required it to indemnify a third party for its own negligence.

         9. Wire leased two workers, Gilberto Flores and Santos Beltran Silva, to Plaintiff John Bludworth Shipyard Inc. (“JBS”) pursuant to a subcontractor agreement between Wire and JBS that predated the ...


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