United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Rec.
Doc. 15) filed by Defendants Lege Consulting
Services, LLC and Corey T. Gardiner (herein after
collectively referred to as “Defendants”).
Plaintiff Allen Taylor opposes the motion. (Rec. Doc. 18).
Defendants replied (Rec. Doc. 29), and Plaintiff filed a
sur-reply (Rec. Doc. 31) to which Defendants then filed a
sur-reply (Rec. Doc. 34). The motion, set for submission on
April 17, 2019, is before the Court. Having considered the
motion and memoranda of counsel, the opposition and replies,
the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that
Defendants' motion is DENIED for the
reasons set forth below.
was employed as a seaman by B & J Martin, Inc. aboard the
F/V DUSTY DAWN. (Rec. Doc. 1 Complaint, ¶ 5). On October
14, 2015, Plaintiff stepped on a cigarette lighter and fell
on the deck of the vessel sustaining various injuries.
(Id. at 6). On September 26, 2018, Plaintiff filed
the instant suit pursuant to the Jones Act and General
Maritime Law naming B &J Martin, Inc. (“B & J
Martin”) and Rooster Oil & Gas, LLC (“Rooster
Oil”) as defendants. (Id. at 1-3). On February
1, 2019, Plaintiff filed the First Supplemental and Amended
Complaint (Rec. Doc. 10) naming two additional defendants,
Corey T. Gardiner (“Gardiner”) and Lege's
Consulting Services, LLC (“Lege Consulting”).
(Rec. Doc. 10 ¶ 7). Defendants now move the Court to
dismiss Plaintiff's claims against Gardiner and Lege
Consulting as time-barred and prescribed pursuant to 46
U.S.C. § 30106.
context of a motion to dismiss the Court must accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Lormand v. U.S. Unwired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 232
(5th Cir. 2009) (citing Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues
& Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308 (2007); Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Lovick v.
Ritemoney, Ltd., 378 F.3d 433, 437 (5th Cir. 2004)).
However, the foregoing tenet is inapplicable to legal
conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949
(2009). Thread-bare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice. Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550, U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
central issue in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is
whether, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the
complaint states a valid claim for relief. Gentilello v.
Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 544 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting Doe
v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F.3d 413, 418 (5th Cir. 2008)). To
avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must plead sufficient facts to
“state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.
at 1949). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The Court
does not accept as true “conclusory allegations,
unwarranted factual inferences, or legal conclusions.”
Id. (quoting Plotkin v. IP Axess, Inc., 407
F.3d 690, 696 (5th Cir. 2005)). Legal conclusions must be
supported by factual allegations. Id. (quoting
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950).
a court considers materials outside of the pleadings, the
motion to dismiss must be treated as a motion for summary
judgment under Rule 56(c).” Causey v. Sewell
Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc., 394 F.3d 285, 288 (5th Cir.
2004) (citing Tuley v. Heyd, 482 F.2d 590, 592 (5th
Cir.1973)). Summary judgment is appropriate only if
“the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, ” when viewed in the light most
favorable to the non-movant, “show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact.” TIG Ins.
Co. v. Sedgwick James, 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002)
(citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 249-50 (1986)). A dispute about a material fact is
“genuine” if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving
party. Id. (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248). The court must draw all justifiable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Id. (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255).
the moving party has initially shown “that there is an
absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's
cause, ” the non-movant must come forward with
“specific facts” showing a genuine factual issue
for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
325 (1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)).
Conclusional allegations and denials, speculation, improbable
inferences, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic
argumentation do not adequately substitute for specific facts
showing a genuine issue for trial. Id. (citing
SEC v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir. 1993)).
argue that Plaintiff's claims have prescribed because the
three-year prescription period for maritime torts expired
prior to the February 1, 2019, Amended Complaint naming
Defendants as additional parties. (Rec. Doc. 15-1, p. 4).
Plaintiff counters that the filing of the Amended Complaint
relates back to the filing date of the Complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(1). (Rec. Doc. 18, p.
2). Plaintiff also requests this court to convert the motion
to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment in accordance
with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (Id.).
with the Fifth Circuit holding in Causey, the Court
converts the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary
judgment because the parties submitted evidence outside of
the pleadings in the motion to dismiss. Pursuant to 46 U.S.C.
Section 30106, “a civil action for damages for personal
injury or death arising out of a maritime tort must be
brought within 3 years after the cause of action
arose.” Plaintiff's original Complaint dated
September 26, 2018, alleging injuries arising out of a
maritime tort on October 14, 2015, was timely. As
Plaintiff's claims prescribed on October 14, 2018, the
subsequent February 2019 pleading naming Defendants was
to Rule 15(c)(1), the Federal Rules of Procedure allow for an
otherwise prescribed pleading to relate back to the ...