United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
GULF LOGISTICS, LLC in personam, M/V GREY CUP in rem
ORDER AND REASONS
ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
following motions are before the Court: Motion for
Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 56) filed by Plaintiff,
C-Port/Stone, LLC; Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec.
Doc. 55) filed by Defendants, Gulf Logistics, LLC
and M/V GREY CUP. Both motions are opposed. The motions,
noticed for submission on September 19, 2018, are before the
Court on the briefs without oral argument.
C-Port/Stone, LLC filed this action against Gulf Logistics,
LLC in personam and the M/V GREY CUP in rem
to recover payments for fuel, lube oil and water that were
provided to the M/V GREY CUP as vessel
necessaries. C-Port/Stone sells diesel fuel, bunker
fuel, lubricants and other supplies. Gulf Logistics owns the
GREY CUP. At the time of the fuel, lube oil and water
purchases at issue-January 10, 2016 through May 3, 2016-the
GREY CUP was under a time charter to Whistler Energy II, LLC,
who was using the vessel in support of its offshore oil and
gas activities. The purchases from C-Port/Stone were made by
Whistler Energy, not by Gulf Logistics.Whistler was
placed into involuntary bankruptcy on March 24, 2016, leaving
several of C-Port/Stone's invoices unpaid.
C-Port/Stone's contention is that it obtained a maritime
lien on the GREY CUP by operation of law each time it
provided necessaries to the GREY CUP on credit, and to the
extent that specific invoices remain unpaid, those liens
remain extant and enforceable.
motion for summary judgment, C-Port/Stone moves to enforce
its liens against the GREY CUP, the end result of which would
be that Gulf Logistics would have to pay for Whistler's
unsatisfied debts in order to avoid having the GREY CUP
arrested and sold.
motion for summary judgment, Gulf Logistics moves to dismiss
the complaint arguing that any liens against its vessel, if
they actually attached, have been extinguished.
trial is scheduled to commence on November 28, 2018.
judgment is appropriate only if "the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any," when viewed
in the light most favorable to the non-movant, "show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact."
TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James, 276 F.3d 754, 759
(5th Cir. 2002) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986)). A dispute about a
material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
non-moving party. Id. (citing Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248). The court must draw all justifiable inferences
in favor of the non-moving party. Id. (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). Once the moving party has
initially shown "that there is an absence of evidence to
support the non-moving party's cause," Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986), the
non-movant must come forward with "specific facts"
showing a genuine factual issue for trial. Id.
(citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)).
Conclusional allegations and denials, speculation, improbable
inferences, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic
argumentation do not adequately substitute for specific facts
showing a genuine issue for trial. Id. (citing
SEC v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir. 1993)).
faced with a well-supported motion for summary judgment, Rule
56 places the burden on the non-movant to designate the
specific facts in the record that create genuine issues
precluding summary judgment. Jones .v Sheehan, Young,
& Culp, P.C., 82 F.3d 1334, 1338 (5th
Cir. 1996). The district court has no duty to survey the
entire record in search of evidence to support a
non-movant's position. Id. (citing Forsyth
v. Barr, 19 F.3d 1527, 1537 (5th Cir. 1992);
Nissho-Iwai Am. Corp. v. Kline, 845 F.2d 1300, 1307
(5th Cir. 1988)).
Court begins from the premise that invoices totaling $125,
952.59 represent necessaries that C-Port/Stone provided to
the GREY CUP on credit.
to the Commercial Instruments and Maritime Lien Act, a person
who provides necessaries to a vessel on the order of the
owner or a person authorized by the owner has a maritime lien
on the vessel, and may bring a civil action in rem to enforce
the lien. 46 U.S.C. § 31342(a), (b). The provider of the
necessaries is not required to allege or prove in the action
that credit was given to the vessel. Id. §
presumption arises that one providing supplies to a vessel
acquires a maritime lien, and the party attacking this
presumption has the burden of establishing that the personal
credit of the owner or charterer was solely relied upon.
Equilease Corp. v. M/V Sampson, 793 F.2d 598, 605
(5th Cir. 1986) (citing TTT Stevedores v. M/V
Jagat Vijeta, 696 F.2d 1135, 1139 (5th Cir.
1983); Gen. Elec. Credit & Leasing Corp. v. Drill
Ship Mission Explor., 668 F.2d 811, 814 (5th
Cir. 1982)). In order to overcome the presumption, evidence
must be produced that the supplier purposefully intended to
forego the lien. Maritrend, Inc. v. Serac & Co.,
348 F.3d 469, 471 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing
Equilease, 793 F.2d at 606). Because the statutory
presumption in ...