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Khalaf v. Mass. Resources, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

October 2, 2019

EXTEMAL KHALAF, ET AL
v.
MASS RESOURCES, INC., ET AL

          APPEAL FROM THE SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF CATAHOULA, NO. 28, 305 HONORABLE KATHY A. JOHNSON, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          Michael J. Vondenstein One Galleria Blvd., COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Acadiana Specialty Risks Agency

          Darrell Keith Hickman COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS: Mass. Resources, Inc. Fun Investments, LLC

          Celeste D. Elliott Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin & Hubbard COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: United Specialty Insurance Co.

          Brandy McClure COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLEES: Ektemal Khalaf, as tutrix of Ramie Khalaf Ektemal Khalaf, as tutrix of Omar Khalaf Ektemal Khalaf, as tutrix of Ahmad Khalaf Ektemal Khalaf

          Myisha Davis Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS: Mass. Resources, Inc. Fun Investments, LLC

          Alan W. Stewart Gibson Law Partners COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Four Rivers Insurance Agency, Inc.

          Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Billy Howard Ezell, and John E. Conery, Judges.

          Billy Howard Ezell Judge.

         Mass Resources, Inc. and Fun Investments, L.L.C. (herein collectively referred to as Mass. Resources) appeal the decision of the trial court below granting summary judgment in favor of Four Rivers Insurance Agency, Inc. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

         This suit originated as a wrongful death suit. The original suit was filed by the family of Tarek Khalaf, who was killed while repairing a pumping unit on an oil well owned by Fun Investments and operated by Mass. Resources. Both companies are owned and run by Tarek Khalaf's brother, Emad Khalaf. The original suit alleges that Tarek Khalaf was an employee of Mass. Resources with a salary of $150, 000.00 per year and that his January 27, 2015, death was the result of Mass. Resources' negligence in failing to have a brake on the pumping unit and in failing to properly maintain its equipment.

         Mass Resources in turn brought a third-party suit against Four Rivers, Mass. Resources' insurance agent, alleging the latter had failed in procuring a commercial general liability policy (CGL), which Mass. Resources alleges would have covered Tarek Khalaf's death. During the course of discovery, Mass. Resources, through Emad Khalaf, admitted that Tarek Khalaf was an employee of Mass. Resources and that he was acting in the course and scope of his employment with them at the time of the accident. Mass. Resources further admitted that it had never requested that Four Rivers procure a workers' compensation policy. Those admissions were made directly by Emad Khalaf, verified as true, while the companies were represented by counsel.

         After discovery, Four Rivers moved for summary judgment asserting that, because Tarek Khalaf was an employee of Mass. Resources in the course and scope of his employment, workers' compensation law controlled the matter and that, even if it had failed to obtain a CGL, it would not be liable to Mass. Resources under the facts of this case. The trial court below agreed, granting summary judgment in favor of Four Rivers. From that decision, Mass. Resources appeals.

         Mass Resources asserts one assignment of error on appeal, claiming that the trial court erred in granting the motion for summary judgment, as it alleges its amended answers to requests for admission and an ...


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