Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Third Coast Towing, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

September 12, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF
v.
THIRD COAST TOWING, LLC, ET AL. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court are the following motions: (1) a motion in limine filed by Nature's Way Marine, LLC and Environmental Pollution Group, LLC; (2) a motion for summary judgment filed by the same parties; and (3) a motion for partial summary judgment filed by the United States. The matters are fully briefed and ready for adjudication.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         On January 27, 2013, a tug operated by Nature's Way Marine was pushing two barges of sweet crude oil down the Mississippi River. As the tug maneuvered near Vicksburg, Mississippi, one of the barges struck a bridge and discharged more than 7, 100 gallons of oil. Nature's Way spent $2.99 million on the ensuing cleanup, while various governmental entities spent at least $792, 868.98 on the same.

         In September 2013, barge owner Third Coast Towing sued Nature's Way for breach of maritime contract and maritime tort. The case settled in late 2014.

         In January 2016, the United States filed the present action. It claimed that Nature's Way, Third Coast, and Great American Insurance Company were liable under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA”) for oil spill removal costs and civil penalties.

         Nature's Way and insurer Environmental Pollution Group (collectively, “Nature's Way”) counterclaimed against the United States under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). They asserted that the federal government-via the U.S. Coast Guard's National Pollution Funds Center-should have reimbursed most of Nature's Way cleanup expenses using money from the federal government's oil spill trust fund.

         The United States now seeks confirmation that Nature's Way is not entitled to any reimbursement from the oil spill trust fund.[1] Nature's Way, meanwhile, wants to set aside the Coast Guard's determination and be awarded reimbursement of all but $854, 000 of its cleanup costs. Nature's Way has also moved to strike parts of the administrative record.

         II. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when “the 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).

         Under the ordinary summary judgment standard, a party seeking to avoid judgment must identify admissible evidence in the record showing a fact dispute. Id. at 56(c)(1). “Once a summary judgment motion is made and properly supported, the nonmovant must go beyond the pleadings and designate specific facts in the record showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Neither ‘conclusory allegations' nor ‘unsubstantiated assertions' will satisfy the nonmovant's burden.” Wallace v. Tex. Tech Univ., 80 F.3d 1042, 1047 (5th Cir. 1996) (quotation marks and citations omitted). The Court views the evidence and draws reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmovant. Maddox v. Townsend and Sons, Inc., 639 F.3d 214, 216 (5th Cir. 2011). But the Court will not, “in the absence of any proof, assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts.” McCallum Highlands, Ltd. v. Wash. Capital Dus, Inc., 66 F.3d 89, 92 (5th Cir. 1995), as revised on denial of reh'g, 70 F.3d 26 (5th Cir. 1995).

         The APA standard of review is somewhat different:

The Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) allows a federal court to overturn an agency's ruling only if it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, not in accordance with law, or unsupported by substantial evidence on the record taken as a whole. The court starts from a presumption that the agency's decision is valid, and the plaintiff has the burden to overcome that presumption by showing that the decision was erroneous. The agency's factual findings are reviewed to determine only whether they are supported by substantial evidence. The agency's legal conclusions are reviewed de novo, except for questions of statutory interpretation, where the court owes substantial deference to an agency's construction of a statute that it administers. Review is highly deferential to the administrative agency whose final decision is being reviewed.

Buffalo Marine Servs. Inc. v. United States, 663 F.3d 750, 753-54 (5th Cir. 2011) (quotation marks and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.