United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
SHEILA JONES, individually and as personal representative of ERNEST HARRIS
ASSOCIATED MARINE TERMINALS, LLC, ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the defendant's motion to dismiss Civil
Action Number 18-2568 under Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons
that follow, the motion is DENIED as moot.
consolidated cases arise from the death of Ernest Harris.
Harris was a Jones Act seaman employed by Associated Marine
Equipment, LLC. On March 25, 2017, he was assisting crane
operations at a mid-river terminal, MTC-472B, in the
Mississippi River. The crane operator, Mike Brown, was
maneuvering a large barge cover using the crane controls on
the D/B RANDY W (which was owned and operated by Associated
Marine or Turn Services, LLC) when Mr. Brown suddenly and
without warning shifted the heavy barge cover, which struck
Mr. Harris in the head, causing him to fall into the
Mississippi River. Mr. Harris died.
separate wrongful death/survival lawsuits were filed, one by
Ernest's mother, Sheila Jones, and one by Ernest's
father, Robert Harris. Sheila Jones sued Associated Marine
Terminals, LLC and Turn Services, LLC, alleging Jones Act
negligence, general maritime law claims, and vessel
negligence under Section 905(b) of the Longshore Harbor
Workers' Compensation Act (Civil Action Number 18-2438).
Robert Harris also sued Associated Terminals LLC and Turn
Services, LLC, seeking to recover for Jones Act negligence
and under the general maritime law for unseaworthiness or
alternatively under the Longshore and Harbor Workers'
Compensation Act and under general maritime law (Civil Action
Number 18-2568). The cases were consolidated. The Court
granted the plaintiffs' motion to dismiss without
prejudice their claims against Associated Terminals, LLC,
Associated Marine Terminals, LLC, and Turn Services, LLC,
which leaves only Associated Marine Equipment, LLC as the
defendant in both proceedings.
Marine Equipment, LLC now moves to dismiss Civil Action
18-2568, Robert Harris v. Associated Terminals, LLC, et
al., on the ground that Robert Harris lacks standing to
assert Jones Act and general maritime law claims against
Associated Marine Equipment, LLC because he is not his
son's personal representative.
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678-79 (2009)(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8). "[T]he pleading
standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed
factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an
accusation." Id. at 678 (citing Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court
“accept[s] all well-pleaded facts as true and view[s]
all facts in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” See Thompson v. City of Waco,
Texas, 764 F.3d 500, 502 (5th Cir. 2014) (citing Doe
ex rel. Magee v. Covington Cnty. Sch. Dist. ex rel.
Keys, 675 F.3d 849, 854 (5th Cir. 2012)(en banc)). But,
in deciding whether dismissal is warranted, the Court will
not accept conclusory allegations in the complaint as true.
Id. at 502-03 (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
survive dismissal, “‘a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Gonzalez v. Kay, 577 F.3d 600, 603 (5th Cir.
2009)(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678)(internal
quotation marks omitted). “Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the
complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations and footnote
omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (“The plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.”). This is a “context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id. at 679.
“Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely
consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short
of the line between possibility and plausibility of
entitlement to relief.” Id. at 678 (internal
quotations omitted) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
557). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to
relief'”, thus, “requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (alteration in original) (citation omitted).
moving to dismiss Robert Harris's case, Associated Marine
Equipment, LLC challenges his standing to assert the Jones
Act and general maritime law claims alleged in his complaint
on the ground that only Sheila Jones was appointed as the
administratrix of their son's estate by the
24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Jefferson. Robert Harris opposes the motion to dismiss on the
ground that, ...