Barry v. Shell Oil Company et al
ORDER denying 127 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge John W. Sedwick on 4/20/18. (GMM, CHAMBERS STAFF)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF ALASKA
SHELL OIL COMPANY; ARCTIA
OFFSHORE, LTD.; SHELL
and SAFETY MANAGEMENT
ORDER AND OPINION
[Re: Motion at Docket 127]
I. MOTION PRESENTED
At docket 127, Co-Defendant Safety Management Systems, LLC (“SMS”) moved
for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Co-Defendant, Arctia
Offshore, Ltd., (“Arctia”) filed its response at docket 129; and Co-Defendant SMS
replied at docket 133.
This matter arises out of a claim for personal injuries allegedly sustained by
Plaintiff in August of 2012 while he was working aboard the M/V NORDICA, a vessel
owned by Arctia. At the time of the alleged incident, Plaintiff Blane Barry was employed
by EPS Cargo Handlers or EPS Logistics (collectively “EPS”) as a lead rigger aboard
the NORDICA. The NORDICA was supplied by Arctia via a Master Time Charter with
Shell Offshore, Inc. (“Shell”) to aid Shell with marine oil field support and transportation
services. Shell separately contracted with SMS to provide a safety representative
aboard the NORDICA throughout the voyage. Plaintiff alleges in his complaint that he
seriously injured his back and neck while lifting a heavy cable. He seeks damages for
lost earnings, lost earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, and “physical
and emotional pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.”
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment is appropriate where “there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”1 The
materiality requirement ensures that “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment.”2 Ultimately, “summary judgment will not lie if the . . . evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”3 However, summary
judgment is mandated “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to
establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”4
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
The moving party has the burden of showing that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact.5 Where the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial
on a dispositive issue, the moving party need not present evidence to show that
summary judgment is warranted; it need only point out the lack of any genuine dispute
as to material fact.6 Once the moving party has met this burden, the nonmoving party
must set forth evidence of specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue for
trial.7 All evidence presented by the non-movant must be believed for purposes of
summary judgment, and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in favor of the
non-movant.8 However, the non-moving party may not rest upon mere allegations or
denials but must show that there is sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual
dispute to require a fact-finder to resolve the parties’ differing versions of the truth at
Under maritime law, “negligence actions involve a duty of reasonable care.” 10 “In
some cases, custom may be enough to establish a duty [under maritime law].”11
Id. at 323.
Id. at 323-25.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49.
Id. at 255.
Id. at 248-49.
Christensen v. Georgia-Pac. Corp., 279 F.3d 807, 815 (9th Cir. 2002).
Id. at 812.
Whether a party “breached this duty is a question of fact for trial.”12 “As with the issue
of breach, proximate cause is usually a factual decision that should be decided at
trial.”13 “Summary judgment is rarely granted in negligence cases because the issue of
‘[w]hether the defendant acted reasonably is ordinarily a question for the trier of fact.’”14
Two central factual questions remain in dispute necessitating the presence of
SMS as a Co-Defendant in this case. Joshua W yatt was the safety representative
assigned to the vessel by SMS. His duty and responsibility regarding safety on the
NORDICA and the duty and responsibilities of SMS in relationship to Shell are issues
that remain in dispute. Thus, taking all facts in a light most favorable to Co-Defendant
Artica, the motion for summary judgment must be denied.
For the reasons stated above, Co-Defendant SMS’s motion for summary
judgment at docket 127 is DENIED.
DATED this 20th day of April 2018.
/s/ JOHN W. SEDWICK
SENIOR JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Id. at 815 (citing Peters v. Titan Navigation Co. 24, 857 F.2d 1342, 1345 (9th Cir.
Id. (citing Martinez v. Korea Shipping Corp., Ltd., 903 F.2d 606, 609 (9th Cir. 1990)).
Id. at 813 (quoting Martinez v. Korea Shipping Corp., Ltd., 903 F.2d 606, 609 (9th Cir.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?