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Barnes v. Sea Hawaii Rafting, LLC

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 15, 2014

CHAD BARRY BARNES, Plaintiff,
v.
SEA HAWAII RAFTING, LLC, KRIS HENRY, M/V TEHANI, et al., Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Chad Barry Barnes, Plaintiff: Jay L Friedheim, LEAD ATTORNEY, Honolulu, HI.

For Sea Hawaii Rafting, LLC, Kris Henry, M/V Tehani, HA-1629-CP, and her engines, equipment, tackle, stores, furnishings, cargo and freight, In Rem, Defendants: Michael J. Nakano, LEAD ATTORNEY, Mark S. Hamilton, Frame & Nakano, Honolulu, HI.

OPINION

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Alan C. Kay, Senior United States District Judge.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR PAYMENT OF MAINTENANCE

For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiff Chad Berry Barnes's Motion for Summary Judgment for Payment of Maintenance.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

This matter arises under admiralty law. Plaintiff Chad Berry Barnes alleges that he was employed by Defendant Kris Henry and/or Defendant Sea Hawaii Rafting as a crew member on the vessel M/V TEHANI. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 14-15.) On July 3, 2012, Barnes was injured when an explosion occurred under the deck of the boat as Barnes was starting its engine and helping to launch it into the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. (Id. ¶ ¶ 12-13.) Barnes alleges that he suffered severe physical and emotional injuries as a result of the accident that require " ongoing medical treatment, loss of time from work, and may have left him permanently disabled." (Id. ¶ ¶ 16-17.)

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On January 1, 2013, Barnes filed a Verified Complaint against Sea Hawaii Rafting, LLC, Kris Henry, and a number of Doe defendants, in personum, and M/V TEHANI, HA-1629 CP, and her engines, equipment, tackle, stores, furnishings, cargo and freight, in rem (together, " Defendants" ). (Doc. No. 1 (" Compl." ).) In his complaint, Barnes brings the following claims: (1) negligence under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 688, against the in personam Defendants (Count I); (2) unseaworthiness as against the M/V TEHANI (Count II); (3) maintenance, cure, and wages under general maritime law (Count III); (4) compensation and recovery for negligence pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. § 905, against the in personam and in rem Defendants (Counts IV-VII); (5) individual liability of Defendant Kris Henry and the Doe Defendants for the negligence of Sea Hawaii Rafting, pursuant to a theory of " piercing the veil of limited liability" (Count VII); and (6) intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress as against all Defendants (Count VIII). (Id. ¶ ¶ 23-71.) Barnes seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and recovery of attorneys' fees.

On August 20, 2013, Barnes filed a Motion for Summary Judgment for Payment of Maintenance and Cure, asking for judgment as to Count III of his complaint. (Doc. No. 25.) On November 15, 2013, the

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Court issued its Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment for Payment of Maintenance and Cure.[2](Doc. No. 44 (" 11/15/13 Order" ).) In the 11/15/13 Order, the Court found that Barnes is entitled to maintenance and cure from July 3, 2012 (the date of his injury) until he reaches maximum cure. (Id. at 9.) The Court denied Barnes's motion as to the appropriate amount of maintenance and cure, finding that Barnes failed to proffer sufficient evidence to demonstrate the reasonable amount of maintenance for a seaman in Barnes's locality, and failed to prove his medical expenses.[3](Id. at 18.)

On January 27, 2014, Barnes filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment, supported by a concise statement of facts and a number of exhibits. (Doc. Nos. 58, 59.) Defendants filed their memorandum in opposition, also supported by a concise statement of facts and numerous exhibits, on March 24, 2014. (Doc. Nos. 68, 69.) Barnes filed his reply, with exhibits attached, on April 1, 2014. (Doc. No. 71.)

A hearing on the motion was held on April 14, 2014.

STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when a " movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The central issue is " whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). If that burden has been met, the nonmoving party must then come forward and establish the specific material facts in dispute to survive summary judgment. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 588, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). The Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Id. at 587.

In supporting a factual position, a party must " cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record . . . or show[] that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The nonmoving party " must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 585. " [T]he requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact . . . . Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48 (emphasis in original). Also,

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" [t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position is not sufficient[]" to defeat summary judgment. Triton Energy Corp. v. Square D Co., 68 F.3d 1216, 1221 (9th Cir. 1995). Likewise, the nonmoving party " cannot defeat summary judgment with allegations in the complaint, or with unsupported conjecture or conclusory ...


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