United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
are two motions before the Court: Defendant's motion for
partial summary judgment (R. Doc. 12) and Plaintiff's
Rule 56(d) motion (R. Doc. 17). Having considered the
parties' briefs and the applicable law, the Court now
issues this Order and Reasons.
Montrey Thornton (“Thornton”) brings this action
to recover for injuries he allegedly sustained in two
separate incidents while working as a deckhand and crewmember
aboard the M/V DENNIS J. PASENTINE, owned by Defendant
Florida Marine Transporters, LLC (“Florida
Marine”). Thornton alleges that he injured his back in
April of 2017 while handing down a crossover hose on a barge,
and again in October of 2017 while building tow in the Lewis
& Clark Fleet. He brings Jones Act negligence,
unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure claims against
Florida Marine in connection to both incidents.
initial complaint, Thornton alleged that the October incident
was caused by his co-worker's failure to pull his weight
while the two were working with a wire and ratchet. Thornton
amended his complaint when discovery revealed that the person
who did not pull his weight was an employee of the Lewis
& Clark fleet - not a Florida Marine co-worker - and
added SCF Lewis & Clark Fleet, LLC and SCF Lewis &
Clark Terminals, LLC as defendants.
Marine moves for partial summary judgment dismissing
Thornton's Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness
claims stemming from the October incident. R. Doc. 12.
Florida Marine argues that Thornton cannot establish the
essential elements of these claims, because (1) it cannot be
liable for the actions of a separate company's employee,
and (2) the vessel was seaworthy. R. Doc. 12.
filed a Rule 56(d) motion in response, asking the Court to
defer consideration of Florida Marine's motion for
partial summary judgment. R. Doc. 17. Thornton contends that
whether Florida Marine directly employed the worker in
question does not resolve its potential liability under the
Jones Act and general maritime law, and that additional
discovery into the relationship between Florida Marine and
the Lewis & Clark deckhand is critical to his response.
In the attached Rule 56(d) affidavit, Thornton's counsel
states that it is not possible to respond without:
1. Information regarding the operations ongoing at the time
of Plaintiff's injury
2. The participants to those operations
3. The defendant's safety and operating policies that
4. The degree to which these safety policies were violated
5. The relationship between the defendant and this outside
worker on defendant's tow who was working with Plaintiff
at the time of the incident, including the degree of control
that defendant had over this outside worker as well as the
amount of ...