FROM THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
EVANGELINE, NO. 76112-A HONORABLE GARY J. ORTEGO, DISTRICT
Christopher Brent Coreil Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Tracy Collins.
Jonathan Clyde Vidrine COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Tracy
Patrick Pitre COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Great Lakes
Dredge and Dock Co., LLC.
Jefferson R. Tillery Hansford P. Wogan Jones Walker, L.L.P.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Great Lakes Dredge and Dock
composed of Billy Howard Ezell, Shannon J. Gremillion, and D.
Kent Savoie, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., LLC, appeals the motion for
summary judgment granted in favor of Mr. Tracy Collins in
this matter brought pursuant to the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.A.
§ 30104, and general maritime law. For the reasons that
follow, we affirm the judgment as amended.
AND PROCEDURAL POSTURE
March 30, 2016, Mr. Collins filed a petition in the
Thirteenth Judicial District (the trial court), Evangeline
Parish, against Great Lakes alleging that he was injured on
or about May 13, 2015, while performing deckhand duties
aboard the vessel known as Derrick 62. Great Lakes sought to
remove the case to federal district court. The federal court
remanded the matter to the Thirteenth Judicial District
Court. Great Lakes then answered the suit. The district court
fixed the matter for jury trial to commence on November 20,
2017. Mr. Collins then filed a motion for partial summary
judgment to have Great Lakes assessed with 100% fault in the
accident that allegedly caused his injuries. The trial court
originally fixed the hearing on this motion for June 27,
2017. Mr. Collins then filed an amendment to his motion, to
which he attached various unsworn reports regarding the
accident and an unsworn report from Dr. Thomas G. Fontenot,
in which he relates that Mr. Collins presented at his office
complaining of neck and low back pain. Great Lakes filed an
opposition in which it objected to the exhibits to Mr.
Collins's amended motion. It also attached depositions of
two physicians who conducted independent medical examinations
of Mr. Collins and concluded that his shoulder and neck
complaints were not related to the incident.
amended pretrial order issued by the district court moved the
trial date to January 8, 2018. The hearing on Mr.
Collins's motion for summary judgment was reset for
December 13, 2017. The trial court entertained argument on
Mr. Collins's motion and rendered judgment in his favor
after striking the exhibits Mr. Collins had attached to his
supplemental motion. In its written reasons, the trial court
found that Mr. Collins was a Jones Act seaman injured in the
course and scope of his duties and granted his motion for
summary judgment "as to the issue of liability of this
defendant. . . ." The written reasons also provided:
The extent of plaintiff's injuries, along with the causal
connection as to any alleged injury sustained as a result of
the accident of May 13, 2015 is not an issue before this
court at this time, and therefore, will not be addressed by
this court pursuant to this Motion for Partial Summary
January 5, 2018, the trial court signed the judgment
appealed, which found Great Lakes 100% at fault and liable to
support of his motion, Mr. Collins attached an affidavit he
executed and his own deposition. In his affidavit, Mr.
Collins attested that he was working on the dredge
Alaska near Venice, Louisiana. Three other employees
were attempting to connect two pipes while on a rocky jetty
in the Mississippi River. There was no ring stopper on the
pipe, which Mr. Collins stated was supposed to have been
welded to the pipe, so the crew was forced to use a portable
ring stopper. The other crew members were unable to apply a
chain binder to facilitate the attachment of the ring
stopper, so, according to Mr. Collins, he was asked to help.
As Mr. Collins was pulling on the chain binder with "all
[his] strength and weight," another crewman, Carlo,
struck the top ...