Bordelon Marine, Inc. v. LaShip, LLC

Full title: BORDELON MARINE, INC. v. LASHIP, LLC, ET AL

Court: United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana

Date published: Nov 22, 2023

Facts

This suit arises out of alleged damages to the M/V Shelia Bordelon when the M/V Joshua Chouest, owned by Reel Pipe LLC (Reel Pipe) and cold stacked (stored long term) at the LaShip, L.L.C. docking facility (LaShip) became unmoored on August 29, 2021, when Hurricane Ida made landfall, and crashed into the M/V Shelia Bordelon. Bordelon Marine, Inc (Bordelon), owner of the Shelia, seeks damages including cost of repair and other incidental and related expenses. Defendants, Reel Pipe LLC and LaShip deny liability and assert that all damages were caused by Hurricane Ida, a fortuitous event, force majeure, or Act of God. These alternate views created a question of fact which must be resolved at trial. Consequently, this matter came on for trial before the Court, without a jury, on October 30, 2023.

Issue

Decision

Shelia Bordelon is seeking damages from LaShip for Joshua Chouest’s breakaway and subsequent damage to the vessel. The Court finds that Offshore Service Vessels did not own, manage, or operate either the Joshua Chouest or the LaShip facility on August 29, 2021, and therefore, Offshore Service Vessels is not liable in this litigation. The Joshua Chouest was a drifting vessel at the time of the allision with the Shelia Bordelon, and the Oregon and Louisiana presumptions are rebuttable by demonstrating that the allision or collision was the fault of the stationary object, that the drifting or moving vessel acted with reasonable care, or that the accident could not have been prevented by human skill and precaution and a proper display of nautical skills.

Defendants have successfully rebutted the presumptions, showing that Hurricane Ida constituted an Act of God and that LaShip did all it reasonably could under the circumstances. The Court must find that the defendants have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the weather was heavy and that they took all reasonable precautions under the circumstances. The accident could not have been prevented by proper nautical skill or precaution, and therefore the defendants are not liable to the plaintiff for the damage to the Shelia Bordelon.

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