Partner Meghan B. Senter and Associate Vikram S. Bhatia recently won two dispositive motions in a high-stakes case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
The case involves an oil well located off the Louisiana coast. The well owner alleges that a defective coupling caused the well to fail. The well owner sued several entities, including the coupling manufacturer, its insurer, and the machine shop that threaded the coupling.
The well owner invoked the Louisiana Direct Action Statute, under which liability insurers can be made defendants along with their insureds. Under the circumstances, however, the Direct Action Statute could apply only if the accident or injury occurred in Louisiana. At least one Louisiana court had held that an accident occurring off the Louisiana coast occurred in Louisiana for purposes of the Direct Action Statute. Meghan and Vikram overcame the difficult jurisprudence and persuaded the Court to dismiss all claims against the insurer.
In a separate motion, Meghan and Vikram argued that the Court did not have personal jurisdiction over the machine shop, a Japanese entity. Even after applying a relatively liberal “minimum contacts” test, the Court once again agreed with Meghan and Vikram and dismissed all claims against the shop.
For more information on this accomplishment, please contact Vikram at email@example.com.