O'Bryant v. Gray Insurance Company, et al
ORDER and REASONS re 44 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' motion is GRANTED, and that O'Bryant's Amended Complaint (Rec. Doc. 25), or all claims related to the alleged toxic exposure, be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, as stated within dcoument. Signed by Chief Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt on 10/3/2017. (cbs)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
TIMOTHY G. O’BRYANT
GRAY INSURANCE COMPANY, ENI US
OPERATING CO. INC., OMER DANIEL
LONGNECKER AND WADE LONGNECKER,
D/B/A LONGNECKER PROPERTIES, INC.,
LONGNECKER PROPERTIES, INC., SEACOR
MARINE, LLC, AND THE M/V CLAY ELLA, Its
Appurtenances, Tackle, etc.
SECTION “N” (1)
ORDER AND REASONS
Presently before the Court is a “Motion for Summary Judgment” (Rec. Doc. 44), filed by
Defendants Longnecker Properties, Inc. (“LPI”), The Gray Insurance Company (“Gray”), Seacor
Marine, LLC (“Seacor”), and Eni US Operating Co. Inc. (“Eni”), (collectively “Defendants”).
Plaintiff Timothy G. O’Bryant (“O’Bryant”) has filed a response in opposition (Rec. Doc. 82), to
which Defendants have replied (Rec. Doc. 97). Having carefully considered the parties’
supporting and opposing submissions, the record, and the applicable law, IT IS ORDERED that
the Defendants’ motion is GRANTED for essentially the reasons stated within their motion (Rec.
Doc. 44) and reply memorandum (Rec. Doc. 97).
In their motion, Defendants correctly argue that summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is proper, as O’Bryant fails to identify any chemical
substance to which he was allegedly exposed or the level of exposure. In response, O’Bryant
argues that he is unable to present “all essential facts to adequately justify his opposition to
defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment,” so this Court should defer ruling on the motion
or deny the motion “until the pending discovery and reasonable discovery have been completed.”
See Rec. Doc. 82 at p. 7. However, as Defendants point out in their reply memorandum, this Court
has previously continued the submission date on the motion so that O’Bryant could obtain
additional discovery. To date, Plaintiff has still not produced any additional evidence supporting
his claim or identifying any chemicals to which he was allegedly exposed. 1
In addition, Defendants posture that, even if O’Bryant was in fact exposed to toxic
chemicals, he has no medical or scientific evidence that causally connects the exposure to his
alleged injury, peripheral neuropathy. See Rec. Doc. 44-2 at p. 2. In fact, Dr. Craig Clark,
O’Bryant’s treating neurosurgeon, testified that,
(1) he never related plaintiff’s neuropathy to chemical exposure; (2) the potential
causes of neuropathy are “legion” and it would be impossible for any physician
or expert to identify the cause of plaintiff’s neuropathy; and, (3) it is more likely
that plaintiff’s neuropathy was caused by other factors, including past alcohol or
illicit drug use or a prior trauma unrelated to work (gunshot wounds to both legs),
all of which plaintiff concealed from Dr. Clark.
On September 28, 2017, O’Bryant filed “Plaintiff’s Motion to Postpone Disposition of
Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment Until Completion of Pending or Requested
Discovery, to Extend the Discovery Deadline, and to Continue the Trial on the Merits” (Rec. Doc.
113). Thereafter, Defendants filed a “Motion to Quash and/or for Protective Order” in response to
O’Bryant noticing the depositions of Dr. Ravi Pande, his treating neurologist, Dr. Joseph S.
Bennett, his treating orthopedic surgeon, and Lee Carr, a fact witness, for Monday, October 2,
2017. Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld held a telephone conference with the parties on Friday,
September 29, 2017, and granted the motion to quash. See Rec. Doc. 116.
As indicated in the minute entry from the telephone conference, counsel for O’Bryant was
unable to explain to the Court why the depositions of treating physicians and fact witnesses were
not performed earlier, before the discovery deadline had passed. Id. Moreover, counsel indicated
that in noticing these depositions, he hoped to demonstrate that a trial continuance is needed at this
time. Id. However, the Court is not convinced that a continuance is needed or that deferring a
ruling on the motions for summary judgment is appropriate. The Court has given O’Bryant
continuances on the motions’ submission dates, and he has still failed to produce any evidence
relevant to the motion for summary judgment (Rec. Doc. 44) presently before the Court. Therefore,
the Court denies O’Bryant’s request to defer ruling on pending motions for summary judgment
insofar as it pertains to the present motion (Rec. Doc. 44).
Id. Again, O’Bryant’s response focused on pending discovery and lack of evidence, while
requesting that the Court either defer ruling on the motion or deny the motion altogether. See Rec.
Doc. 82 at p. 7. However, as previously noted, this Court has granted O’Bryant extensions on the
motion, but he has failed to produce any further medical testimony or evidence that would support
his toxic exposure claim. Also, the medical records referenced in O’Bryant’s opposition from one
of his treating neurologists, Dr. Ravi Pande (“Dr. Pande”), have been received, and as indicated in
Defendants’ reply memorandum, Dr. Pande renders no diagnosis or causal opinions regarding
O’Bryant’s complaints, including the neuropathy. (Rec. Doc. 97 at p. 2).
Therefore, it is appropriate for this Court to grant summary judgment, as O’Bryant, the
nonmoving party, is unable to produce admissible evidence that is sufficient to establish essential
elements of his toxic exposure claim as to which he would bear the burden of establishing at trial.
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ motion is GRANTED, and that O’Bryant’s
Amended Complaint (Rec. Doc. 25), or all claims related to the alleged toxic exposure, be
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 3rd day of October 2017.
KURT D. ENGELHARDT
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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