FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. 2015-2233 HONORABLE PATRICK L. MICHOT,
Randall Kurt Theunissen S. Brian Perry Allen & Gooch,
Counsel for Defendants/Appellees: Wet Tech Lighting, Inc. Wet
Tech Energy, Inc.
A. Mahtook, Jr. Mahtook & LaFleur, LLC, Counsel for
Defendant/Appellee: AFX Petrologix, LLC.
Raymond McAloon, III Gieger, LaBorde & Laperouse, LLC One
Shell Square, Counsel for Defendant/Appellee: Shamrock
D. Moroux Juneau David, APLC, Counsel for Defendant/Appellee:
Gulfport Energy Corporation.
M. Flanagan Sean Brady Andy Dupre Anders F. Holmgren Flanagan
Partners LLP, Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant: Bradley
Kyle Findley Kala Sellers Adam Lewis Arnold & Itkin, LLP,
Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant: Bradley Broussard.
Douglas Ortego LeBas Law Offices, Counsel for Intervenor:
American Interstate Insurance Company.
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Billy Howard Ezell, and Phyllis
M. Keaty, Judges.
PHYLLIS M. KEATY JUDGE.
Bradley Broussard, appeals the trial court's grant of
summary judgment in favor of Defendant/Appellee, Shamrock
Management, L.L.C. For the following reasons, the trial
court's judgment is affirmed.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
personal injury matter stems from injuries sustained by
Broussard on January 21, 2015, while working in the course
and scope of his employment with AFS Petrologix, LLC, on
platform 114 in the East Hackberry Field in Calcasieu Lake,
State Lease 50. Broussard was inspecting a navigational light
on top of a pole when it broke, causing him to fall into the
water below and sustain injuries. As a result, Broussard
filed an Original Petition for Damages on May 6, 2015,
against Gulfport Energy Corporation as the owner and/or
operator of the platform based upon negligence and premises
liability. Broussard's workers' compensation insurer,
American Interstate Insurance Company, filed a Petition of
Intervention. On April 26, 2016, Broussard filed his First
Amended Petition for Damages, naming Wet Tech Lighting, Inc.,
Wet Tech Energy, Inc., and Shamrock Management, L.L.C., as
additional Defendants. In his amended petition, Broussard
alleged that Wet Tech Lighting, Wet Tech Energy, and Shamrock
were negligent by failing to properly inspect and maintain
the navigational light and pole.
March 20, 2018, Shamrock filed a motion for summary judgment,
alleging that it was not liable for Broussard's injuries.
Shamrock stated that it did not own or operate the platform
and had no employees working for Gulfport on the date of the
incident at any location. Broussard filed an opposition
memorandum. Following a hearing on May 14, 2018, the trial
court granted Shamrock's motion for summary judgment. The
trial court's written judgment was signed on May 30,
2018, which Broussard now appeals.
appeal and in his sole assignment of error, Broussard
contends that the trial court legally erred "in finding
the absence of disputed material facts and granting summary
judgment as a matter of law."
standard of review utilized by an appellate court when
reviewing a trial court's grant of a motion for summary
judgment is de novo. Duncan v. U.S.A.A. Ins. Co.,
06-363 (La. 11/29/06), 950 So.2d 544. Under this standard of
review, the appellate court uses the same criteria as the
trial court in determining if summary judgment is appropriate
pursuant to La.Code Civ.P. art. 966. Id. The
criteria enunciated in La.Code Civ.P. art. 966(A)(3) provides
that "a motion for summary judgment shall be granted if
the motion, memorandum, and supporting documents show that
there is no genuine issue as to material fact and that the
mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
"A fact is 'material' when its existence or
nonexistence may be essential to [a] plaintiff's cause of
action under the applicable theory of recovery."
Smith v. Our Lady of the Lake Hosp., Inc., 93-2512,
p. 27 (La. 7/5/94), 639 So.2d 730, 751. Additionally, a fact
is material if it potentially insures or precludes recovery,
affects a litigant's ultimate success, or determines the
outcome of the legal dispute. Id.
Code of Civil Procedure Article 966(D)(1) explains the
mover's burden of proof on summary judgments as follows:
The burden of proof rests with the mover. Nevertheless, if
the mover will not bear the burden of proof at trial on the
issue that is before the court on the motion for summary
judgment, the mover's burden on the motion does not
require him to negate all essential elements of the adverse
party's claim, action, or defense, but rather to point
out to the court the absence of factual support for one or
more elements essential to the adverse party's claim,
action, or defense. The burden is on the adverse party to
produce factual support sufficient to establish the existence
of a genuine issue of material fact or that the mover is not
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
contends the trial court legally erred by finding the absence
of disputed material facts and granting summary judgment as a
matter of law. His argument stems from a contract between
Gulfport and Shamrock whereby the latter ran production
operations and performed platform inspections through its
employee, Terry Benoit. Broussard asserts that Benoit was
employed by Shamrock on the date of the accident and that his
negligent inspections render Shamrock vicariously liable.
Even if this court finds that Benoit was not employed by
Shamrock on the date of the accident, Broussard asserts that
Benoit was negligent in his inspections before December 2014,
during his employment with Shamrock.
opposition, Shamrock contends that Benoit was not its
employee on the date of the accident. According to Shamrock,
Benoit stopped working for it approximately five and one-half
weeks prior to the incident, which is when the contract
between Shamrock and Gulfport terminated. Shamrock further
submits that there is no evidence that Benoit performed
negligent visual inspections prior to the ...