Employer and its Insurer Granted Summary Judgment Due to Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Exclusivity U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, April 30, 2018
LOUISIANA — The plaintiff sued his employer and its insurance company alleging that he developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos while working as a pipefitter for Huntington Ingalls at the Avondale Shipyard. Defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that plaintiff’s claims against them are subject to the exclusivity of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The plaintiff did not substantively oppose this motion, and affirmatively indicated his intention to pursue LHWCA claims against these defendants. The plaintiff filed his own motion to voluntarily dismiss the defendants without prejudice. The court granted summary judgment for the defendants and ruled the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss was moot. “Dismissal without prejudice is not justified when a request for voluntary dismissal is ‘intended to avoid an imminent adverse result on summary judgment.'”
In its analysis, the court notes that there is a lack of dispute that the defendants are covered by the LHWCA. It stated that the plaintiff satisfied both the “status” and “situs” elements of qualification under the act, as he was employed by the defendant, and his injuries occurred on a vessel covered by the act. The court acknowledged that the LHWCA provided the exclusive remedy for these types of injuries, and further noted that the provisions of the act also covered claims against the defendant’s insurers and executive officers.