United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
case arises out of a decade-plus-long discharge of sub-sea
minerals from plaintiff's offshore wells following
Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan toppled
Taylor Energy's production platform (“MC20A
Platform”) located in federal waters adjacent to the
State of Louisiana, scattering debris and burying the MC20
wells beneath approximately 150 feet of mud and sediment.
Rec. Doc. 1 at 5-6. Plaintiff was designated the
‘Responsible Party' by the Coast Guard.
Id. at 7. Plaintiff alleges that Captain Luttrell
served it with a new Administrative Order on October 23,
2018, ordering it to institute a containment system to
capture and remove oil near the platform, and later
unilaterally selected Couvillion as the contractor.
Id. at 19, 33. Plaintiff was subsequently informed
that the Coast Guard would be partially assuming response
actions at the MC20 site. Id. at 33.
December 20, 2018, plaintiff Taylor Energy filed a complaint
to vacate administrative order and for other relief against
defendant Captain Kristi M. Luttrell, in her official
capacity as Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the MC20 Unified
Command, and defendant the United States of America, acting
by and through the United States Coast Guard. Rec. Doc. 1.
Plaintiff Taylor Energy also filed a separate complaint
against defendant Couvillion for declaratory judgment and for
other relief. Rec. Doc. 1, CV-18-14051. The cases were
consolidated. Rec. Doc. 22.
February 7, 2019, defendant Couvillion filed a motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of standing and
ripeness, as well as under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim. Rec. Doc. 27. Among other things, Couvillion argued
that plaintiff's complaint is grounded in unsupported
speculation of potential harm and is therefore insufficient
to establish a concrete injury. Rec. Doc. 27-1 at 9-11.
Subsequently, plaintiff filed a motion to allow it to conduct
jurisdictional discovery in order to respond to
Couvillion's motion to dismiss. Plaintiff alleges factual
information regarding certain jurisdictional assertions are
uniquely in Couvillion's possession. Rec. Doc. 29-2 at 4.
arguments were received on February 27, 2019 on
plaintiff's motion for jurisdictional discovery (Rec.
Doc. 29), defendant Couvillion Group's motion to dismiss
(Rec. Doc. 27), and plaintiff's motion to set defendant
Couvillion's motion to dismiss for evidentiary hearing
(Rec. Doc. 36). Rec. Doc. 48. After taking the motions under
advisement, and considering supplemental briefing submitted
by the parties, an order was issued on April 18, 2019
permitting limited jurisdictional discovery and instructing
parties to submit a schedule for same no later than April 30,
2019. Rec. Doc. 78. In the same order, we dismissed defendant
Couvillion's motion to dismiss (Rec. Doc. 27) and Federal
Defendants' partial motion to dismiss (Rec. Doc. 61), all
without prejudice to reurge in context of a summary judgment
motion after completion of limited jurisdictional discovery.
and defendant Couvillion filed the instant supplemental
memoranda in response to our April 18, 2019 order with
separate proposed discovery schedules. Rec. Docs. 84, 85.
Parties reportedly conducted a telephonic meet and confer on
April 24, 2019 but were unable to agree upon a single
schedule. Each side now seeks adoption of its respective
proposed schedule. Federal Defendants also filed a status
report opposing plaintiff's proposed schedule and
asserting that the order for limited jurisdictional discovery
applies only to the case against defendant Couvillion and not
to the case against Federal Defendants. Rec. Doc. 86.
Taylor Energy seeks to conduct jurisdictional discovery on
the following matters:
1. The Coast Guard's written contract with Couvillion LLC
including all “specifications, ”
“directives, ” and “instructions.” 2.
The basis for the Coast Guard's “higher confidence
in the technical capability and response time proposed”
by Couvillion LLC.
3. Whether Couvillion LLC's activities at the MC20 Site
are “imminent.” 4. The details and specifications
of Couvillion LLC's work to date, original and subsequent
timelines, and planned activities for the MC20 Site.
5. The design and installation of Couvillion LLC's
“Rapid Response” containment system.
6. Couvillion LLC's due diligence, professional
experience, and qualification, including that of its
7. Couvillion LLC's understanding of the complex history
of the MC20 Site and its current condition to evaluate
whether the “reckless, gross negligence” and
willful misconduct ...