In the Matter of Cooper Marine & Timberlands Corporation
ORDER granting (51) Motion to Consolidate Cases in case 1:20-cv-00191-DMB-DAS. Signed by District Judge Debra M. Brown on 9/8/2021. Associated Cases: 1:20-cv-00191-DMB-DAS, 1:21-cv-00056-SA-DAS (jla)
Case: 1:20-cv-00191-DMB-DAS Doc #: 53 Filed: 09/08/21 1 of 2 PageID #: 195
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
IN THE MATTER OF COOPER
MARINE & TIMBERLANDS CORP.,
as owner pro hac vice and operator of
the Barge Big 505, Official No. 1100343
On August 23, 2021, Cooper Marine & Timberlands Corporation; Max Marine, LLC; the
City of Columbus, Mississippi; and Cameron Lawrence filed a “Joint Motion to Consolidate”
asking that this action be consolidated with another case pending in this district, In the Matter of
the Complaint of Max Marine LLC, No. 1:21-cv-56-SA-DAS. Doc. #51. As grounds, the parties
These two limitation of liability lawsuits arise from a single occurrence, namely,
the attempts by the crews of the [Cooper Marine] and Max Marine tugboats to
remove the [Cooper Marine] barges from the upper mouth of the Tombigbee
Waterway a short distance above the City of Columbus, Mississippi.
During the course of these attempts, a [Cooper Marine] barge became adrift in the
Tombigbee River drifted downriver, allegedly striking and damaging the walkway
and floating dock of Claimant Cameron Lawrence and the pedestrian bridge of
Claimant City of Columbus.
The nature of the claims of Claimants in both actions involve common questions of
law or fact in that they arise from the same conduct of the crews of the [Cooper
Marine] and Marine Max tugboats.
Judicial economy will be served and duplication of time and effort by the Court and
the parties will be avoided by having all claims and defenses resolved in one
Doc. #52 at 3 (paragraph numbering omitted).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42 provides that “[i]f actions before the court involve a
common question of law or fact, the court may … consolidate the actions.” “District courts enjoy
Case: 1:20-cv-00191-DMB-DAS Doc #: 53 Filed: 09/08/21 2 of 2 PageID #: 196
substantial discretion in deciding whether and to what extent to consolidate cases.” Hall v. Hall,
138 S. Ct. 1118, 1131 (2018).
This case and Max Marine involve common questions of law and fact. Both cases involve
owners of vessels seeking to limit their liability for damages arising from the same accident. See
Tex. Dep’t of Trans. v. Canal Barge Co., Inc., No. 4:20-CV-868, 2020 WL 4335787, at *3 (S.D.
Tex. July 28, 2020) (“A number of courts have consolidated limitation actions with related cases
in an effort to streamline proceedings and avoid piecemeal litigation.”) (collecting cases). The
Court thus finds that consolidation is warranted. Accordingly, the joint motion to consolidate 
is GRANTED. Specifically,
This case (1:20-cv-191) and the Max Marine case (1:21-cv-56) are
CONSOLIDATED until further order of the Court.
In accordance with Local Rule 42, this case (1:20-cv-191) is designated as the lead
case, and the consolidated cases will proceed before the undersigned district judge.
All documents in the consolidated cases, including this order, shall be filed in the
lead case and spread on the docket of the related case in the Court’s electronic case
management system, unless the Court directs otherwise.
The caption of all documents filed in the lead case shall indicate first the caption of
this case, followed by the caption in the Max Marine case. The words “consolidated
with” must appear directly under the caption of this case.
SO ORDERED, this 8th day of September, 2021.
/s/Debra M. Brown
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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