United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
GEORGE ROY BROWN, JR.
BP EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION INC., ET AL.
ORDER & REASONS
M. A FRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is defendants BP Exploration & Production Inc.
and BP America Production Company's (together,
“BP”) motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff Roy
Brown, Jr.'s (“Brown”) response in opposition
to BP's motion for summary judgment was due on July 2,
2019, but to date, no opposition has been
filed.Accordingly, the Court considers the motion
unopposed. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.
January 11, 2013, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier
approved the Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits
Class Action Settlement Agreement (“MSA”), which
includes a Back-End Litigation Option (“BELO”)
permitting certain class members who follow procedures
outlined in the MSA to sue BP for later-manifested physical
who worked as clean-up workers in response to the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill are members of the class covered by the
A later-manifested physical condition, pursuant to the MSA,
physical condition that is first diagnosed in a MEDICAL
BENEFITS SETTLEMENT CLASS MEMBER after April 16, 2012, and
which is claimed to have resulted from…exposure to
oil, other hydrocarbons, or other substances released from
the MC252 WELL and/or the Deepwater Horizon and its
appurtenances, and/or exposure to dispersants and/or
decontaminants used in connection with the RESPONSE
ACTIVITIES, where such exposure occurred on or prior to . . .
April 16, 2012 for CLEAN-UP WORKERS.
case arises from Brown's alleged exposure to oil and gas
dispersants while he worked as a clean-up worker in response
to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.Brown was diagnosed in July
2014 with chronic damage to his conjunctiva, chronic
rhinosinusitis, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, and
chronic eczematous reaction; and in October 2015 with
neurocognitive disorder with behavioral changes and specific
learning disorder with impairment in reading.
not dispute that Brown was a clean-up worker after the oil
spill and that he is a member of the class covered by the
BP also does not dispute that Brown's alleged conditions,
diagnosed after April 16, 2012, fit within the MSA's
definition of a later-manifested physical
move for summary judgment, however, arguing that Brown cannot
prove legal causation. Specifically, BP argues that Brown
must prove that his alleged conditions were legally caused by
his exposure to substances related to the Deepwater Horizon
oil spill and that he will not be able to meet his burden of
proof in a bench trial before this Court.
judgment is proper when, after reviewing the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits, the court determines that there is no genuine
dispute of material fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
“[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the
record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
the party seeking summary judgment carries its burden
pursuant to Rule 56, the nonmoving party must come forward
with specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute
of material fact for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The
showing of a genuine issue is not satisfied by creating
“‘some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts,' by ‘conclusory allegations,' by
‘unsubstantiated assertions,' or by only a
‘scintilla' of evidence.” Little v.
Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). Instead, a genuine issue of material
fact exists when the “evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The party responding to the motion for
summary judgment may not rest upon the pleadings, but must
identify specific facts that establish a genuine issue.
Id. The nonmoving party's evidence, however,
“is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are
to be drawn in [the nonmoving party's] favor.”
Id. at 255; see also Hunt v. Cromartie, 526
U.S. 541, 552 (1999).
district court has somewhat greater discretion to consider
what weight it will accord the evidence in a bench trial than
in a jury trial.” Matter of Placid Oil Co.,
932 F.2d 394, 397 (5th Cir. 1991). “[W]here ‘the
evidentiary facts are not disputed, a court in a nonjury case
may grant summary judgment if trial would not enhance its
ability to draw inferences and conclusions.'”
Id. (quoting Nunez v. Superior Oil Co., 572