James Brown v. Cenac Towing Co., Inc


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[B]Case Name: [/B][I]James Brown v. Cenac Towing Co., Inc.
[/I][B]Date Decided: [/B]February 12, 2010
[B]Court: [/B]U.S.D.C. E.D. Louisiana
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge Berrigan
[B]Citation: [/B]2010 WL 520492 (E.D.La.)[B]Background:
[/B]Before this Court was a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Cenac Towing Co., Inc. Plaintiff, James Brown, brought this action alleging Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness, and maintenance and cure under general maritime law.

Brown alleged that he was completing the loading procedure of the barge by disconnecting a flange end of the hydraulic loading arm with another tankermen when Valero’s dock man prematurely began loading the arm and Brown became pinned between the arm and a winch located on the barge.

[B]Issue: [/B]
Did this Court grant Cenac Towing’s motion for partial summary judgment?

[B]Held:
[/B]This Court found that nothing presented in the complaint, memoranda, or accompanying deposition suggested any negligence on behalf of Cenac. Brown suggests the possibility of negligence on behalf of the Valero employee who was operating the loading arm as well as potential unseaworthiness as a result of the loading arm allegedly malfunctioning.

However, Brown failed to contend anything Cenac did caused his injury OR that they were negligent to begin with.

Accordingly, this Court found no material issue of material fact whether Cenac was negligent and was therefore, the proximate cause of Brown’s injury.

[B]Comment:
To show liability in a Jones Act claim, a plaintiff must show negligent breach of duty and proximate cause that is imputed to the employer. [/B]

[B]Even the slightest employer negligence is sufficient for a finding of liability to an injured seaman ([I]Spinks v. Chevron Oil Co., 507 F.2d 216)[/I]. Here, the plaintiff failed to allege [I]any [/I]negligence by the defendant. [/B]

[B]Steve Gordon [/B]

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