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Doucet v. Superior Gauging Services, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

April 17, 2019

WARREN DOUCET
v.
SUPERIOR GAUGING SERVICES, INC., ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERMILION, NO. 102743 HONORABLE JOHN D. TRAHAN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          ANTHONY C. DUPRÉ DUPRÉ-MYERS, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT WARREN DOUCET

          KEVIN P. MERCHANT CAROLYN C. COLE NEUNERPATE ONE PETROLEUM CENTER COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE SUPERIOR GAUGING SERVICES, INC.

          MICHAEL G. LEMOINE JONES WALKER LLP COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE SHELF ENERGY, L.L.C.

          Court composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Phyllis M. Keaty, and Jonathan W. Perry, Judges.

          JONATHAN W. PERRY JUDGE.

         In this personal injury lawsuit, Warren Doucet ("Plaintiff") appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the two defendants, Superior Gauging Services, Inc. ("Superior") and Shelf Energy, L.L.C. ("Shelf"), dismissing Plaintiff's claims against the two defendants with prejudice. We affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On December 22, 2015, Plaintiff was allegedly injured when a metal oil tank he was cutting up for scrap struck him. At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was on the property of Lotaire Duhon ("Duhon")[1] in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. When the accident occurred, the Duhon property was subject to an oil and gas lease wherein Duhon granted certain mineral rights to Shelf. After the wells were no longer producing in paying quantities, Shelf plugged them and began to restore and clean the well site pursuant to the terms of its mineral lease contract with Duhon. In furtherance of its contractual obligations, Shelf contacted Rodney Quibodeaux ("Quibodeaux"), the co-owner of Superior, to perform the clean up operations.

         One aspect of the clean-up involved the removal of four large storage tanks that had been used during production. Quibodeaux then contacted Earl Doucet ("Doucet") to look at the tanks and determine if he would be interested in removing them for scrap. Doucet, who was ill, brought Plaintiff, his cousin, to the job site; after examining the tanks, Plaintiff agreed to remove the tanks from service, put them on a trailer, haul them, and sell the metal for scrap. As Plaintiff was using a cutting torch to sever one of the storage tanks, the tank rolled over the chocks that had been placed to secure it and injured him.

          Plaintiff filed a petition for damages against Superior and Shelf, [2] contending he suffered personal injury damages while he was performing storage tank demolition and scrap metal services on the Duhon property. After answers were filed to Plaintiff's petition and various depositions were taken, Superior and Shelf each filed motions for summary judgment, on April 5, 2018, and April 11, 2018, respectively, seeking dismissal of Plaintiff's claims; both motions were scheduled for hearing on May 29, 2018. Plaintiff filed his opposition to the motions for summary judgment on May 16, 2018, thirteen days before the hearing date. Superior and Shelf filed a joint motion to strike Plaintiff's opposition for failure to comply with the fifteen-day mandatory deadline provided in La.Code Civ.P. art. 966(B)(2) and La.Dist.Ct.R. 9.9 of the Uniform Rules of the District Court.

         Initially, the trial court denied Superior's and Shelf's motion to strike. After hearing argument, the trial court granted Superior's and Shelf's motions for summary judgment and dismissed Plaintiff's claims against those defendants.[3]

         Plaintiff filed this appeal, contending the trial court erred when it granted Superior's and ...


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