In Re: The Matter of Marquette Transportation Company Gulf-Inland, LLC
ORDER AND REASONS granting 24 Motion to Lift Stay. Signed by Chief Judge Sarah S. Vance on 6/19/14. (jjs)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
IN THE MATTER OF MARQUETTE
TRANSPORTATION COMPANY GULFINLAND, LLC, AS OWNER AND
OPERATOR OF THE TOWING VESSEL
FATHER SEELOS, ETC.
On July 18, 2013, Marquette Transportation Company GulfInland LLC, as owner and operator of the towing vessel Father
Seelos, filed a complaint seeking exoneration from or limitation
of liability regarding any loss, damage or injury caused by a
collision between Father Seelos and a vessel owned by John Tran.
On July 31, 2013, the Court issued an order that restrained,
stayed, and enjoined the further prosecution of any and all
actions arising from the aforementioned collision.1
Claimants Susan Tran (individually and as a personal
representative and widow of the decedent, John Tran, on behalf of
herself and her minor child, Marsha Tran), Quoc Tran, Jeanie
Tran, and Nancy Pham filed a stipulation on March 31, 2014,
agreeing that Marquette is entitled to litigate all issues
relating to limitation of liability in federal court and waiving
any claim of res judicata relevant to any issue related to
limitation of liability based on any judgment in any court other
R. Doc. 5.
than this one.2 Claimants further stipulated that they will not
seek or enforce any judgment in excess of the value of the Father
Seelos and her freight pending the adjudication in this Court of
the petition seeking limitation of liability.3
They now move to
lift the stay issued by this Court so they may prosecute a claim
against Marquette in Louisiana state court.4 Marquette not
opposed the motion.
A federal district court may dissolve an injunction against
any state court proceedings if it concludes that the vessel
owner's right to seek limitation of liability will be adequately
protected. Lewis v. Lewis & Clark Marine, Inc., 531 U.S. 438,
451-52 (2001) (concluding that the vessel owner's rights were
protected by petitioner's stipulation that his claim did not
exceed the limitation fund, his waiver of any defense of res
judicata with respect to limitation of liability, and the
district court's decision to stay the Limitation Act proceedings
pending state court proceedings). Accord In re Complaint of FKM,
Inc., for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liab., 122 F. App'x
783, 784 (5th Cir. 2005). Because claimants have stipulated to
Marquette's right to limit its liability to the value of the
Father Seelos and its freight, and because they have waived any
R. Doc. 22.
R. Doc. 24.
defense of res judicata with respect to limitation of liability,
the Court GRANTS claimants' motion. Accordingly,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Court's injunction against the
prosecution of any and all actions arising from the collision of
the Father Seelos and the vessel owned by John Tran is lifted for
the limited purpose of permitting the aforementioned claimants to
pursue an action against Marquette in Louisiana state court.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this19th day of June, 2014.
SARAH S. VANCE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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