February 2015 Firm News

A Court may rely on the contract terms between the parties to determine the existence and scope of duties owed. In Foster v. Sasol N. Am., Inc., No. 2:13 CV 2813, 2015 WL 338988 (W.D. La. Jan. 26, 2015), the Western District Court, citing Graham v. Amoco Oil co., F.3d 643 (5th Cir. 1994), granted the firm’s Motion for Summary Judgment dismissing all claims against an on-site contractor for injuries to a sub-contractor’s employee allegedly caused by the on-site contractor’s negligence.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, reasoned that the sub-contractor’s contract with owner expressly assigned it the exclusive and sole responsibility to ensure its employees complied with the owner’s safety requirements. Further, the client’s contract with the owner did not include any supervisory oversight or safety obligations. Accordingly, the Court held that neither a duty nor an obligation to the Plaintiff existed because the terms of the contract determined the scope of the duties owed. All claims against the on-site contractor were dismissed. The case was handled by Keogh Cox attorneys John P. Wolff III, Chad A. Sullivan and Richard W. Wolff.