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Morris v. Graphic Packaging International, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

October 17, 2019

BRANDON MORRIS
v.
GRAPHIC PACKAGING INTERNATIONAL, LLC

          KAREN L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case arises out of an alleged injury to Plaintiff Brandon Morris (“Morris”) while he was working at Graphic Packaging International, Inc.'s (“GPI”) facility in West Monroe, Louisiana. Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 17] filed by Defendant GPI. Morris filed an opposition [Doc. No. 20] which was joined by Intervenor Zurich American Insurance Co. (“Zurich”) [Doc. Nos. 23 & 25]. GPI filed a reply. [Doc. No. 24].

         Morris has also filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 21].

         For the following reasons, GPI's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED, and Morris' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         I. FACTS

         On January 2, 2018, GPI, a paper manufacturer, and M.L. Smith, Jr., L.L.C. (“ML Smith”), entered into a written contract (“Purchase Order”) for the demolition and rebuild of the evaporator area black liquor reclaim tank [Doc. No. 17-2, Affidavit of Peggy Gross (“Gross Aff.”), ¶¶ 3-5 & Exh. A]. Although the Purchase Order identifies the vendor as M.L. Smith, Jr., Inc., a prior entity of ML Smith, the limited liability company ML Smith is the entity to which the Purchase Order was directed, which undertook to perform under the Purchase Order, and which was paid by GPI. See [Doc. No. 17-2, Gross Aff., ¶¶ 5-6, Exhs. A & B].

         The Purchase Order [Doc. No. 17-2, Exh. A] provided that “[t]he clauses printed on the attachment hereof and any supplemental conditions attached hereto are essential terms of this order.” Further, in pertinent part, the Purchase Order's General Terms and Conditions (“Terms”) state:

Acknowledgement, shipment or performance of any part of this Purchase Order will constitute acceptance by [ML Smith] of all Terms and Conditions hereof, including all documents incorporated herein by reference, without reservation, and shall constitute the entire agreement between the parties superseding all prior agreements relating to the subject matter hereof.
SECTION 9: INSURANCE:
A. MINIMUM GENERAL REQUIREMENTS. Unless agreed to otherwise in writing by [GPI], at a minimum, [ML Smith] and all of its subcontractors, vendors and/or consultants shall produce and maintain the following insurance:
(i) Worker's Compensation- statutory limits and Employer's Liability-$500, 000 per occurrence.
SECTION 13: STATUTORY EMPLOYMENT: If services are to be performed at [GPI's] facilities in the state of Louisiana, it is agreed that pursuant the provisions of the Louisiana Revised Statutes 23:1061(A)(3), that it is the intent and agreement of the parties hereto that the relationship of the [GPI] to the direct employees and the statutory employees of [ML Smith] (contractor) be that of a statutory employer.

[Doc. No. 17-2, Exh. A, ...


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