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Shore Offshore Services, LLC v. Jab Energy Solutions, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 29, 2019

SHORE OFFSHORE SERVICES, LLC
v.
JAB ENERGY SOLUTIONS, LLC

         SECTION A(4)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JAY C. ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The following motions are before the Court:

         Motion for Reconsideration (Rec. Doc. 99) filed by plaintiff Shore Offshore Services, LLC; Motion to Seal (Rec. Doc. 100) filed by plaintiff Shore Offshore Services, LLC; Motion to Strike Expert Designations (Rec. Doc. 104) filed by plaintiff Shore Offshore Services, LLC;

         Motion for Leave to File Opposition (Rec. Doc. 108) filed by defendant/counterclaimant/third-party plaintiff JAB Energy Solutions II, LLC.

         With the exception of the motion to seal, all motions are opposed.

         The motions, submitted for consideration on January 23, 2019, are before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.[1]

         I. Background

         Shore Offshore Services, LLC filed suit against JAB Energy Solutions II, LLC seeking to recover for unpaid invoices totaling $338, 814.48 (Rec. Doc. 1, Complaint ¶ 29), and for time and materials costs of $1, 074, 830.43 that Shore incurred until JAB formally terminated the parties' contractual relationship (Complaint ¶¶ 40-41). Shore is in the business of decommissioning offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Shore has at its disposal large derrick barges with heavy lift cranes that lift component parts of the platform and the platform itself to load those items onto material barges. (Rec. Doc. 71-1, Memo in Support at 2). Shore explains that it contracts to perform this work in two ways: 1) by contracting directly with the oil company that owns or operates a platform to be decommissioned, or 2) by chartering one of its derrick barges to another company which has in turn contracted with the oil company that owns or operates the platform to be decommissioned. (Id.). The work that Shore was performing for JAB in this instance is of the second type: JAB had contracted with an offshore platform operator, Black Elk Energy, to decommission certain of its platforms in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017, and required Shore's services, vessel, and equipment to carry out the job.

         According to Shore, the parties' contractual relationship is defined by a July 2017 Master Services Agreement (“MSA”) and Work Order, both of which are governed by general maritime law. (Complaint ¶ 6). The MSA and Work Order govern the work made subject of the invoices that JAB has not paid and for which Shore has filed suit. (Rec. Doc. 71-1, Memo in Support at 3). Shore complains that JAB has refused to pay the outstanding invoice amounts based on the contention that Shore breached its contract with JAB thereby obviating JAB's obligation to pay for services rendered. (Rec. Doc. 71-1, Memo in Support at 1). Shore characterizes the “dispute” as centering upon an incident with the DB PACIFIC when decommissioning a platform in the Vermillion 119 block. The incident occurred on October 10, 2017, when the cabling on the DB PACIFIC severed and a 920-ton platform jacket fell into the Gulf. The DB PACIFIC was unable to complete the lift and JAB contracted with another company to complete the job. (Complaint ¶ 23). JAB claims that it cost a significant amount of money to complete the job that Shore failed to do because of its faulty vessel.

         Shore contends that neither general maritime law nor the parties' contract supports JAB's position that it can resist payment based on the October 10, 2017 incident or any other alleged breaches, and that judgment as a matter of law should be granted in favor of Shore in the amount of $1, 413, 645. (Id.).

         Shore filed a motion for partial summary judgment, and on December 21, 2018, the Court issued its Order and Reasons. (Rec. Doc. 94). The Court denied Shore's motion, which essentially sought an order directing JAB to immediately pay the outstanding invoices notwithstanding the ongoing dispute as to the October 10, 2017 incident. The Court did resolve, however, the parties' dispute over whether maritime law or Texas law would govern the contractual dispute. Adopting Shore's position on the issue, the Court concluded that maritime law would govern. Id. at 4.

         A jury trial is scheduled to commence on March 18, ...


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