SABIC Granted Summary Judgment from the Bench in Louisiana State Court

April 21, 2017

Firm partner Matthew Malinowski appeared in the 23rd Judicial District Court in Ascension Parish, Louisiana to argue SABIC Petrochemicals’ motion for summary judgment.  The case involved numerous personal injury claims brought by contract workers allegedly injured in a petrochemical plant explosion in Geismar, Louisiana in June 2013.  Multiple plaintiffs sued both SABIC Petrochemicals, as a partial non-operating owner of the plant, and another petrochemical company that was the majority owner and operator of the plant.

In its motion and at oral argument, SABIC Petrochemicals argued that, while it had not directly hired the contract worker plaintiffs, its joint owner had, and therefore SABIC Petrochemicals was entitled to statutory employer status under Louisiana’s workers’ compensation law and thus could be held liable only upon a showing that it committed an intentional tort.  Immediately following oral argument, the court granted SABIC Petrochemicals’ motion from the bench.  Prior to the hearing, a court in neighboring Iberville Parish had denied similar motions by SABIC Petrochemicals’ co-defendant (the majority owner and operator of the plant), and two juries had already awarded over $27,000,000 in damages to similarly situated contract workers at the plant against SABIC Petrochemicals’ co-defendant.

Bateast v. The Williams Co., Inc., No. 110,312 (La. 23rd Jud. Dist. Ct.) and Mitchell v. Williams Energy Partners, LP, No. 110,285 (La. 23rd Jud. Dist. Ct.) (April 21, 2017).