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Larry Doiron, Inc. v. Specialty Rental Tools & Supply, L.L.P. (In re Larry Doiron, Inc.)

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

January 8, 2018, Filed

No. 16-30217

Opinion

 [*569]  W. EUGENE DAVIS, Circuit Judge.

We took this case en banc to consider modifying the criteria set forth in Davis & Sons, Inc. v. Gulf Oil Corp. for determining whether a contract for performance of specialty services to facilitate the drilling or production of oil or gas on navigable waters is maritime.4 After briefing and argument, the Court has decided to adopt a simpler, more straightforward test consistent with the Supreme Court's decision in Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. Kirby for making this determination.5

I. BACKGROUND

On October 12, 2005, Apache Corporation ("Apache") entered into a blanket master services contract ("MSC") with Specialty Rental Tools & Supply, L.L.P. ("STS"). The MSC included an indemnity provision running in favor of Apache and  [*570]  its contractors.6 In early 2011, Apache issued an oral work order directing STS to perform "flow-back" services on a gas well in navigable waters in Louisiana in order to remove obstructions hampering the [**3]  well's flow. A stationary production platform provided the only access to the gas well. The work order did not require a vessel, and neither Apache nor STS anticipated that a vessel would be necessary to perform the job.

On February 24, 2011, STS dispatched a two-man crew to perform the work required by the work order. After an unsuccessful day of work, the STS crew determined that some heavy equipment was needed to complete the job and that a crane would be required to lift the equipment into place. Because the production platform was too small to accommodate a crane, the crew suggested to Apache that it engage a barge equipped with a crane to lift the equipment. Apache agreed and contracted with Plaintiff Larry Doiron, Inc. ("LDI"), to provide a crane barge.

The next day, the LDI crew proceeded to the job site on the crane barge POGO and unloaded the equipment requested by the STS crew. After being unsuccessful, however, the STS crew discovered that it needed yet a different piece of equipment, so, with the aid of the crane, both crews began removing the heavy equipment previously unloaded. During this process, the LDI crane operator struck and injured one of the STS crewmembers, [**4]  Peter Savoie, with the equipment.

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879 F.3d 568 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 456 **; 2018 AMC 490; 2018 WL 316862

In Re: In the Matter of the Complaint of Larry Doiron, Incorporated as Owner and Operator of the Barge Pogo and M/V Billy Joe for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability;LARRY DOIRON, INCORPORATED, Plaintiff — Appellee ROBERT JACKSON, Intervenor Plaintiff — Appellee v. SPECIALTY RENTAL TOOLS & SUPPLY, L.L.P.; OIL STATES ENERGY SERVICES, L.L.C.; ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants — Appellants.

Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Larry Doiron, Inc. v. Specialty Rental Tools & Supply, L.L.P., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 3204 (U.S., May 21, 2018)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

Larry Doiron, Inc. v. Specialty Rental Tools & Supply, L.L.P. (In re Larry Doiron, Inc.), 869 F.3d 338, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3331 (5th Cir. La., Feb. 23, 2017)

Disposition: REVERSED AND RENDERED.

CORE TERMS

maritime, vessel, drilling, maritime contract, crew, indemnity, work order, cases, oil, navigable waters, nonmaritime, commerce, prong, maritime law, parties, barge, analyzing, contracts, blanket, summary judgment, obligations, sea, bill of lading, transportation, conceptual, aboard

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Admiralty & Maritime Law, Maritime Contracts, Maritime Contracts, Types of Contracts, Types of Contracts, Affreightment