United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ROY STANLEY, ET AL.
STARFLEET MARINE TRANSPORTATION, INC. ET AL.
SECTION: “J” (1)
ORDER & REASONS
J. Barbier United States District Judge
OF MOTION AND RELIEF REQUESTED
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment
(Rec. Doc. 45) filed by Defendant Starfleet
Marine Transportation, Inc., the owner and operator of M/V
MS. LINDA LEE. Plaintiffs filed their opposition (Rec. Doc.
49) and Defendant replied (Rec. Doc. 54). Having considered
the Motion, the legal memoranda, and the applicable law, the
Court finds that the Motion should be
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiffs in this case are offshore platform operators, Roy
Stanley and Mitchell Mouton, who were injured as passengers
aboard the M/V MS. LINDA LEE while it was transporting them
to shore. (Rec. Doc. 1 at 2). On March 23, 2014, Plaintiffs
boarded the LINDA LEE via a personnel basket. At boarding the
gulf was rough enough for waves to spill water over the LINDA
LEE's gunwales and onto the deck. (Rec. Doc. 45-4 at 8).
After coming aboard, Mr. Mouton went into the wheelhouse to
ask about the rough seas. He spoke with the captain of the
LINDA LEE, Jamie Brown. According to Mr. Mouton, Capt. Brown
informed him that they were in for bad weather, due to a
“northerner” blowing cold air onto the gulf.
(Rec. Doc. 45-5 at 8). The Captain allegedly stated “he
was going to run into shallow water to avoid being so far out
whenever high winds did come through.” Capt. Brown
disputes this account and has testified that he was not
concerned with the waves Plaintiffs witnessed as they
boarded, because he believed the cold front and the resulting
rough seas would not arrive until much later, as forecasted
in the National Weather Service High Seas Report. (Rec. Doc.
49-2 at 11).[*]
trip back Plaintiffs became tired and went into the cabin.
They found empty rows of chairs-arranged as they would be on
a commercial airliner-and lay down across multiple chairs.
Plaintiffs deny being given any safety instruction regarding
how to properly ride in the vessel and deny they were ever
told to not lie down in this manner. (Rec. Docs. 45-4 at 13,
45-5 at 9). Plaintiffs fell asleep and were awoken as their
bodies were thrown into the air as the LINDA LEE hit a large
wave. Plaintiffs fell down to the floor of the cabin before
being thrown into the air again by another sudden wave. (Rec.
Doc. 45-5 at 9). Plaintiffs allege they suffered various
injuries from being thrown about the cabin. (Rec. Doc. 1).
filed suit against Starfleet Marine Transportation, Inc., the
owner-operator of the LINDA LEE on August 10, 2016.
Plaintiffs claim in their amended complaint that their
injuries were caused by a number of unreasonable actions or
inactions by the Defendant, but primarily argue that it was
unreasonable for Capt.
to take the course he did, at the speed he did, in rough
seas, given the LINDA LEE's capabilities. Moreover,
Plaintiffs argue that it was unreasonable for Defendant not
to provide passengers with any safety procedures or
equipment. (Rec. Doc. 18 at 2). Defendant then filed the
Motion that is before this Court. The Court will consider it
on the briefs and without oral argument.
judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c));
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994). When assessing whether a dispute as to any
material fact exists, a court considers “all of the
evidence in the record but refrains from making credibility
determinations or weighing the evidence.” Delta
& Pine Land Co. v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co.,
530 F.3d 395, 398 (5th Cir. 2008). All reasonable inferences
are drawn in favor of the nonmoving party, but a party cannot
defeat summary judgment with conclusory allegations or
unsubstantiated assertions. Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
A court ultimately must be satisfied that “a reasonable
jury could not return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Delta, 530 F.3d at 399.
dispositive issue is one on which the moving party will bear
the burden of proof at trial, the moving party “must
come forward with evidence which would ‘entitle it to a
directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at
trial.'” Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v.
Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1264-65 (5th Cir.
1991). The nonmoving party can then defeat the motion by
either countering with sufficient evidence of its own, or
“showing that the moving party's evidence is so
sheer that it may not persuade the reasonable fact-finder to
return a verdict in favor of the moving party.”
Id. at 1265.
of God' ...