United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS ON MOTION
C. WILKINSON, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a marine personal injury case instituted by Peter Angelle
("Angelle" or "plaintiff") against
Spartan Offshore Drilling, LLC ("Spartan" or
"defendant") and Gordon Reed & Associates, Inc.
("Gordon Reed"). Gordon Reed was subsequently
dismissed as a defendant by summary judgment. Record Doc. No.
16. Plaintiff alleges that on July 18, 2017, while working as
an employee for Gordon Reed & Associates, he tripped on a
"packer stem sticking out of a pallet," fell over a
handrail and to the vessel deck. Record Doc. No. 22 (Second
Amended Complaint at p. 2, ¶¶ 4-6). As a result of
this fall, plaintiff alleges that he sustained "injuries
to his lumbar spine, cervical spine, right shoulder and
connective joints, tissues and nerves. . ." Id.
at ¶ 7. Plaintiff seeks "damages for past, present
and future physical and emotional pain and suffering,
permanent physical disability and scarring, past and future
medical expenses . . . loss of wages and wage earning
capacity, and loss of fringe benefits." Id. at
p. 3, ¶ 9.
Motion for Leave to File Third-Party Demand is currently
pending before me. Record Doc. No. 42. Local Rule 7.5
requires that a memorandum in opposition to a motion must be
filed no later than eight days before the noticed submission
date. No. memorandum in opposition to defendant's motion
has been timely submitted. Additionally, defendant in its
motion has certified that it "contacted counsel for
[p]laintiff, who indicates he has no objection to the filing
of this [motion] assuming it will not impact the current
trial date." Record Doc. No. 42-1. Accordingly, this
motion is unopposed, and, further, it appearing to the court
that the motion has merit, IT IS ORDERED that the motion is
Civ. P. 14(a)(1) provides that "[a] defending party may,
as third-party plaintiff, serve a summons and complaint on a
nonparty who is or may be liable to it for all or part of the
claim against it. But the third-party plaintiff must, by
motion, obtain the court's leave if it files the
third-party complaint more than 14 days after serving its
original answer." Additionally, Fed.R.Civ.P. 14(c)(1)
provides that "[i]f a plaintiff asserts an admiralty or
maritime claim under Rule 9(h), the defendant or a person who
asserts a right under Supplemental Rule C(6)(a)(i) may, as a
third-party plaintiff, bring in a third-party defendant who
may be wholly or partly liable-either to the plaintiff or to
the third-party plaintiff-for remedy over, contribution, or
otherwise on account of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences."
second amended complaint, Angelle states that he is bringing
this lawsuit "as an admiralty or maritime claim under
Fed. R. Civ. [P.] 9(h)." Record Doc. No. 22 at p. 3.
"Rule 14(c) does not expressly provide a period within
which a third-party complaint may be served without notice or
motion . . . . These matters presumably are governed by the
applicable provisions in Rule 14(a)." §
1465Admiralty and Maritime Claims, 6 Fed. Prac. & Proc.
Civ. § 1465 (3d ed.) (citing cases).
district court has broad discretion in deciding whether to
permit a third-party complaint when, as here, "a
defending party seeks to [serve a summons and complaint on a
nonparty] more than 14 days after serving its original
answer." Hancock v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., 263
F.R.D. 383, 392 (N.D. Tex. 2009) (citing S. Ry. Co. v.
Fox, 339 F.2d 560, 563 (5th Cir. 1964),
aff'd, 2011 WL 1057567 (5th Cir. 2011),
redesignated as opinion, 636 F.3d 699, 79 Fed. R.
Serv. 3d 189 (5th Cir. 2011). In doing so, courts generally
examine "the prejudice to the parties, complication of
trial issues, likelihood of delay, and timeliness."
Hancock, 263 F.R.D. at 393.
the factors in this instance militates in favor of granting
leave to file this third-party demand. It is unlikely that
either the plaintiff or the third-party defendant will be
unduly prejudiced by allowing Spartan to bring a
third-party action against Gordon Reed. Gordon Reed is
allegedly plaintiff's employer, Record Doc. No. 42-4 at
p. 1, ¶ 2, and was previously a party to this case and
filed an answer and corporate disclosure before it was
dismissed on summary judgment. Record Doc. Nos. 10, 11, 15,
16, 23. It presumably has knowledge of the facts and
allegations upon which this case is based. While this
third-party complaint has been filed many months both after
this case was instituted and after plaintiff's second
amended complaint, Record Doc. No. 22, the scheduling order
entered in this case does not contain a deadline for amending
pleadings or filing third party complaints. Record Doc. No.
33. Typically, motions filed before court-ordered deadlines
are issued are presumed to be timely. See Iraheta v.
Equifax Information Services, LLC, 2018 WL 1881270, at
*2 (W.D. La. Apr. 18, 2018) (citing Greco v. Nat'l
Football League, 116 F.Supp.3d 744, 755 (N.D. Tex.
2015)); Poly-Am, Inc. v. Serrot Int'l Inc., 2002
WL 206454, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 7, 2002). Additionally, more
than two months remain until the discovery deadline and the
scheduled trial in this matter is more than three months
away. It appears that ample time remains to conduct discovery
regarding a party that was previously in this case. As such,
there is little likelihood of delay, particularly as many of
the facts surrounding Spartan's third-party complaint
overlap with the facts of the instant case.
a classic type of third-party action in which a defendant has
a potential claim against a third party for indemnity and/or
contribution. In its proposed third-party complaint, Spartan
alleges that it entered into a Master Drilling Contract with
Walter Oil & Gas Corporation ("Walter Oil"),
and that Gordon Reed also entered into a Master Service
Agreement with Walter Oil. Record Doc. No. 42-4 at p. 2.
Spartan cites provisions of that Master Service Agreement in
its proposed third-party complaint to allege that Gordon Reed
is liable to it for full indemnification and/or contribution.
Id. at pp. 3-4. While these issues may complicate a
trial in this case, "it is typical for third-party
actions to give rise to new claims between the third-party
plaintiff and third-party defendant." Hancock,
263 F.R.D. at 393 (citing Am. Fid. & Cas. Co. v.
Greyhound Corp., 232 F.2d 89, 92 (5th Cir. 1956). Courts
generally consider judicial efficiency and the importance of
avoiding circuity of litigation and duplication of effort in
permitting third-party actions in these sorts of cases.§
1454Practice in Third-Party Actions-Time and Nature of the