Dubuisson v. A.I.S., Inc. of Massachusetts
ORDER and REASONS re 14 Motion for Summary Judgment. IT IS ORDERED that Defendant's motion for summary judgment relative to Plaintiff's Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness claims (Rec. Doc. 14) is GRANTED. Accordingly, on the evide ntiary showing made, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness claims against A.I.S. be and hereby are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, as stated within document. Signed by Chief Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt on 5/10/2017. (NEF: MAG-3) (cbs)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
A.I.S., INC. OF MASSACHUSETTS
SECTION "N" (3)
ORDER AND REASONS
Presently before the Court is the motion for summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 14) filed
by Defendant A.I.S., Inc. of Massachusetts ("A.I.S.") relative to Plaintiff Richard Dubuisson's Jones
Act negligence and unseaworthiness claims. Acknowledging that A.I.S. neither owned nor operated
the vessel upon which his injury occurred, Plaintiff concedes, in responding to Defendant's motion,
that he lacks a viable unseaworthiness claim against his employer. See Rec. Doc. 16, p. 1, n.1.
Accordingly, that aspect of Defendant's motion is granted as unopposed.
Having carefully considered the parties' competing submissions and applicable law,
the Court finds, for essentially the reasons stated in Defendant's supporting memoranda (Rec. Docs.
14-1 and 24), that Plaintiff's Jones Act negligence claim likewise should be dismissed. In short,
even if Plaintiff is found to enjoy Jones Act seaman status,1 he fails to point to evidence sufficient
to support the existence of a triable issue with respect to whether A.I.S. had any reason to believe
that Captain Tolbert would not provide Plaintiff and his co-workers with a safe place to work aboard
the vessel owned and operated by him.
Defendant contests that status by separate motion (Rec. Doc. 15).
As an initial matter, Plaintiff does not contest A.I.S.'s assertion that it was Industrial
Economics, Inc. ("IEc"), not A.I.S., that hired Captain Tolbert to provide vessel transportation for
the A.I.S. biologists/oyster samplers. See Rec. Doc. 14-1, p. 2; Rec. Doc. 14-6, ¶¶ 6-7; Rec. Doc.
14-5, p. 4 of 9 - p. 5 of 9. And, in any event, Plaintiff points to no criticism of Captain Tolbert's
services other than his own.2 Nor, significantly, does Plaintiff demonstrate that any complaints
regarding Captain Tolbert's services were made to pertinent A.I.S. and/or IEc personnel. As such,
the Court finds no evidentiary basis for submitting the question of A.I.S's alleged negligence to a
jury for determination.
Given the foregoing, IT IS ORDERED that Defendant's motion for summary
judgment relative to Plaintiff's Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness claims (Rec. Doc. 14) is
GRANTED. Accordingly, on the evidentiary showing made, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that
Plaintiff's Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness claims against A.I.S. be and hereby are
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 10th day of May 2017.
KURT D. ENGELHARDT
United States District Judge
Clerk to Copy:
Magistrate Judge Knowles
Plaintiff contends Captain Tolbert had "frequent problems with keeping the boat in
position while in a sampling location, and improper cell phone usage while operating a vessel." See
Rec. Doc. 16, p. 3.
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