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Mays v. Chevron Pipe Line Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana

January 9, 2019

PEGGY MAYS ET AL.
v.
CHEVRON PIPE LINE CO. ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A. JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Chevron Pipe Line Company's Motion in Limine (Doc. 161) to exclude a post-accident investigation report. For the reasons that follow, the Motion (Doc. 161) is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This wrongful death action arises from a pipeline accident on a drilling platform in Louisiana territorial waters. (Doc. 1). James Mays was killed when components of a pressurized valve dislodged and struck him in the head. (Id.). Members of his family sued the pipeline operator, Chevron, for negligence. (Id.).

         After the accident, Chevron prepared an investigation report. (Doc. 161-2). The report makes factual findings, identifies root causes, and recommends corrective actions. (Id.). Chevron moves to exclude the report on the grounds that it contains hearsay and evidence of subsequent remedial measures. (Doc. 161).[1]

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The party objecting to the admissibility of evidence bears the burden of showing that the evidence is inadmissible. Lyondell Chem. Co. v. Occidental Chem. Corp., 608 F.3d 284, 295 (5th Cir. 2010).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Hearsay

         Chevron asks the Court to exclude the investigation report because it contains inadmissible hearsay. (Doc. 161-1 at 4). Chevron asserts that its employees prepared the report using information they gathered by interviewing witnesses and reviewing documents. (Id.).

         Hearsay is generally not admissible. FED. R. Evid. 802. A statement is not hearsay if it is offered against an opposing party and was made by that party in an individual or representative capacity. Fed.R.Evid. 801(d)(2). The investigation report is not hearsay because it was made by Chevron and is now offered against Chevron. See, e.g., Williams v. Asplundh Tree Expert Co., No. 3:05-CV-479-J-33, 2006 WL 2868923, at *5 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 6, 2006) (investigation report admissible as a party-opponent admission).

         Because Chevron's investigation report is not hearsay when offered against Chevron, the Court denies Chevron's motion to exclude the report on hearsay grounds.[2]

         B. Subsequent Remedial Measures

         Chevron asks the Court to exclude the investigation report under Federal Rule of Evidence 407 because it contains evidence of subsequent remedial measures. (Doc. 161-1 at 4-5). Chevron asserts that three sections of the report-sections 6.3, 9.0, and ...


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