Johnson v. ADM Milling Co., et al
ORDER AND REASONS denying 18 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting 20 Motion for Leave to File; granting 21 Motion for Leave to File. Signed by Judge Jay C. Zainey on 12/22/2016. (cg)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
ADM MILLING CO., ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
The following motions are before the Court:
Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 18) filed by defendants ADM Milling Co.
and ADM Grain River Systems, Inc. (collectively “ADM”). Plaintiff Sylvester Johnson opposes the
Motion for Leave to File a Reply (Rec. Doc. 20) filed by ADM.
Motion for Leave to File a Supplemental Opposition (Rec. Doc. 21) filed by Plaintiff.
The motion for summary judgment, submitted to the Court on December 14, 2016, is
before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.
Plaintiff Sylvester Johnson contends that he received serious and disabling injuries to the
face and head while working at ADM’s facilities. Johnson attributes the accident to defective
equipment both owned and maintained by ADM. This matter will be tried to the bench on
February 6, 2017.1 (Rec. Doc. 8).
ADM was not Johnson’s employer. Johnson was employed by a staffing service under a
contract with ADM. ADM nonetheless moved for summary judgment solely on the issue of
The Court has granted the unopposed motions to extend the expert report and discovery
deadlines but the Court has never suggested that the dispositive motion deadline or the trial date would be
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whether Johnson was a borrowed employee under the factors applicable in this circuit. ADM
sought complete immunity under the Worker’s Compensation Act for any liability for Johnson’s
injuries. When ADM moved to file its reply memorandum, however, it broadened its argument to
encompass statutory employer immunity, a move that Johnson found to be fundamentally
unfair.2 (Rec. Docs. 20 & 21).
ADM characterizes the question presented by its motion to be unequivocal and straight
forward, presenting a classic, textbook borrowed employee scenario. ADM may or may not be
entitled to some type of immunity but the Court will not make that determination on the record.3
This case is being tried to the bench and the Court will make the immunity determination in
conjunction with its findings of fact and conclusions of law following trial.
Accordingly, and for the foregoing reasons;
In addition to fundamental fairness being of utmost importance, this Court typically does not
consider legal arguments raised for the first time in a reply memorandum because they lead to an endless
parade of sur-replies and supplements, which is exactly what began to happen in this case.
The Court notes that issues as clear cut as ADM characterizes the issues in this case rarely take
the amount of briefing and exhibits that the parties have presented in conjunction with ADM’s motion.
Simply, given how little time it will take to try this straight forward nonjury case, the Court prefers to decide
the important legal issues as part of the merits following trial.
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IT IS ORDERED that the Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 18) filed by
defendants ADM Milling Co. and ADM Grain River Systems, Inc. is DENIED;
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion for Leave to File a Reply (Rec. Doc. 20)
filed by ADM and Motion for Leave to File a Supplemental Opposition (Rec. Doc. 21) filed by
Plaintiff are GRANTED.
December 22, 2016
JUDGE JAY C. ZAINEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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