Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Lack of Notice Argument

Plaintiff was working on a barge owned by Defendant when he was injured by a spew rod.  Plaintiff filed suit alleging negligence and unseaworthiness.  Defendant moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims on the grounds that Plaintiff could not meet the elements of negligence and that there was no cause of action for unseaworthiness under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Plaintiff did not file an opposition to the motion and the Court granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.  Plaintiff thereafter sought reconsideration or relief from the Court’s order granting summary judgment.  Plaintiff contended that he was unaware of Defendant’s motion until the Court issued the order granting the motion.  He stated that the electronic submission from the Court’s CM/ECF system was inadvertently omitted from counsel’s mailbox or was not properly saved prior to deletion.  Defendant opposed the motion on the grounds that Plaintiff’s contentions were not substantial enough to justify relief.

The CM/ECF system stands for “Case Management/Electronic Case Files,” and it is often refered to as “Pacer.”  The CM/ECF system “allows [federal] courts to accept filings and provide access to filed documents over the Internet.”  The idea behind CM/ECF is to provide instant access to files while simultaneously keeping costs low.

Here, the Court denied Plaintiff’s request for reconsideration.  Plaintiff’s counsel elected to receive notice through the Court’s CM/ECF system.  The Court found that there was no evidence that a CM/ECF notice was not issued or that counsel did not receive notice.  The “Notice of Electronic Filing” indicated that notice was electronically mailed to counsel.

Notwithstanding the lack of notice argument, the Court further found that Plaintiff failed to show that the Court erred in its legal and factual analysis.  The Court found that Defendant carried its summary judgment burden in showing that Plaintiff could not prove the required elements of negligence.  Further, Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration failed to raise a genuine dispute as to the material facts. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion was denied.

Danos v. Union Carbide Corporation, 2012 WL 5877951 (E.D. La. 2012).

Beth Bernstein

Beth Bernstein

Beth Bernstein is an associate at Mouledoux, Bland, Legrand & Brackett. She specializes in all matters arising under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, the Defense Base Act and the War Hazards Compensation Act. Beth can be contacted at (504) 595-3000 or by e-mail at bbernstein@mblb.com.
Beth Bernstein