Prado v. Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts-A.G.

Decision Date14 March 1990
Docket NumberSCHIFFAHRTS-A,No. 89-CA-1208,89-CA-1208
Citation558 So.2d 712
PartiesAntonio PRADO v. SLOMAN NEPTUNG., et al.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Louisiana — District of US

Charles F. Lozes, D. Kirk Boswell, Terriberry, Carroll & Yancey, New Orleans, for defendant-appellee.

Bruce C. Waltzer, Paul S. Weidenfeld, Waltzer & Bagneris, New Orleans, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Before SCHOTT, C.J., and CIACCIO and PLOTKIN, JJ.

SCHOTT, Chief Judge.

The key issue in the case is whether the law of the United States should be applied to this maritime tort where plaintiff is a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines; he joined the crew of the Epsilongas in the Philippines; the Epsilongas was a ship of Netherlands Antilles flag and registry and was owned by defendant, a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Netherlands Antilles with its principal place of business in Willemstad, Curacao; plaintiff's employment contract was drafted by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), an agency of the Philippine government, and provided that all claims relative to the contract shall be exclusively resolved through the grievance procedure of POEA and the Philippine Court of Justice; that all rights and obligations of the parties to the contract shall be governed by the laws of the Republic of the Philippines; and, that POEA shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all disputes or controversies arising out of or by virtue of the employment contract; at the time of the injury on May 2, 1987, the Epsilongas was plying the international waters of the Yucatan Channel, and upon the recommendation of the United States Coast Guard the Epsilongas proceeded to Key West, Florida in order to obtain medical assistance for plaintiff; he departed the Epsilongas at Key West, he was treated in Miami, and he was repatriated to the Philippines on August 17.

Plaintiff filed suit in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.A.App. 688, and the general maritime laws of the United States against defendant, Asiento Shipping Co. N.V., his employer and the owner of the ship on which he was injured. Defendant filed exceptions to the venue, exceptions of no right and no cause of action, and a motion for summary judgment. The trial judge overruled the exception to the venue but sustained the exception of no cause of action. He did not specifically rule on the exception of no right of action or the motion for summary judgment.

Before addressing the principal issue we must first consider the procedural posture of the case and determine whether it lends itself to a resolution of the issue. The trial court sustained an exception of no cause of action. This ruling was erroneous because the function of an exception of no cause of action is to question whether the factual allegations of the petition support relief under the law, and it must be decided with reference only to the petition and the documents attached thereto and made part thereof. Because the judgment of the trial court depended upon a statement of uncontested material facts and documents supplied by defendant in response to the petition, the trial court erred in sustaining the exception. LSA C.C.P. art. 931.

However, contemporaneously with the filing of its exceptions, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, pursuant to C.C.P. art. 966, to which it was entitled if the pleadings and other documents of record showed that there was no genuine issue as to material fact and that defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. At the time the trial court considered the exception of no cause of action, the motion for summary judgment was properly pending and ripe for a decision. For the reasons to be discussed below, defendant was entitled to a summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's suit even though it was not entitled to a dismissal based upon its exceptions. As in Roloff v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, 191 So.2d 901, 903 (La.App. 4th Cir.1966) since we are required by C.C.P. art. 2164 to render any judgment which is just, legal, and proper upon the record before us, we will treat the judgment of the trial court as having granted defendant's motion for summary judgment.

The facts recited in the opening paragraph of this opinion were presented by defendant to the trial court in a "Statement of Uncontested Material Facts." Since this statement was not controverted by plaintiff, these facts were deemed admitted pursuant to Rule 9, Section 1(a) of the Civil District Court Rules. Pursuant to Lauritzen v. Larsen, 345 U.S. 571, 73 S.Ct. 921, 97 L.Ed. 1254...

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4 cases
  • Prado v. Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts, A.G.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana — District of US
    • December 15, 1992
    ...motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff previously appealed that decision to this court and we affirmed. Prado v. Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts-A.G., 558 So.2d 712 (La.App. 4 Cir.1990). In those proceedings we ruled that the exception of no cause of action had been improperly granted. At the sam......
  • 96-1013 La.App. 4 Cir. 6/24/98, Abuan v. Smedvig Tankships, Ltd.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana — District of US
    • June 24, 1998
    ...forum selection clause in an employment contract, virtually identical to the clause at issue in this case. Prado v. Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts-A.G., 558 So.2d 712 (La.App. 4 Cir.1990); reversed and remanded on procedural grounds, 565 So.2d 930 (La.1990); 611 So.2d 691 (La.App. 4 Cir.1992); w......
  • Barcelona v. Sea Victory Maritime, Inc.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana — District of US
    • May 27, 1993
    ...provision, virtually identical to the provision at issue in this case, in a maritime employment contract. Prado v. Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts A.G., 558 So.2d 712 (La.App. 4 Cir.1990); reversed and remanded on procedural grounds, 565 So.2d 930 (La.1990); 611 So.2d 691 (La.App. 4 Cir.1992); wr......
  • Prado v. Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts-A.G., Asiento
    • United States
    • Louisiana Supreme Court
    • September 6, 1990
    ...the Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit, No. 89CA-1208; Parish of Orleans, Civil District Court, Div. "K", No. 883513. Prior report: La.App., 558 So.2d 712. Granted. The judgment of the court of appeal is reversed. The case is remanded to the district court for its consideration of the pending ......

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