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Operadora Maritima de Graneles, S.A. v. Gamesa Winds US, LLC

United States District Court, Third Circuit

December 19, 2013

OPERADORA MARITIMA DE GRANELES, S.A., Plaintiff,
v.
GAMESA WIND US, LLC t/b/a TOWERS AND METALLIC STRUCTURES, INC., and M.S. REED, INC., Defendant, and M.S. REED INDUSTRIAL SERVICES, INC., Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
NORTH IBERIAN CONTROL S.L., Third-Party Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

ANITA B. BRODY, J.

Plaintiff Operadora Maritima de Graneles, S.A. (“OMG”) brings an indemnification action against Defendant Gamesa Winds US, LLC (“Gamesa”) and Defendant M.S. Reed Industrial Services, Inc. (“M.S. Reed”) to recover the costs of a settlement paid as a result of damage to a shipping vessel, the BBC Louisiana. OMG leased the vessel, and Gamesa and M.S. Reed were responsible for packing and stowing the cargo, specifically windmill tower sections, windmill tower feet and a transport tool. During an October 2008 voyage, the windmill pieces broke free from their lashings, damaging the vessel. OMG settled the vessel owner’s claim for damages.

In response to OMG’s suit, M.S. Reed filed a Third-Party Complaint against Third-Party Defendant North Iberian Control S.L. (“NIC”). M.S. Reed alleges that NIC controlled the work M.S. Reed performed lashing and stowing the windmill pieces to the BBC Louisiana. M.S. Reed seeks contribution or indemnification from NIC for liability incurred by M.S. Reed to OMG. M.S. Reed also alleges that NIC is directly liable to OMG.

NIC has filed a motion to dismiss M.S. Reed’s Third-Party Complaint for failure to state a claim.[1] For the reasons described below, I will deny NIC’s motion.

I. BACKGROUND[2]

This case arises from damage to the BBC Louisiana suffered when a shipment of windmill pieces on board the vessel broke free from their lashings during an October 2008 journey from Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania to Gijon, Spain. BBC Chartering and Logistics GmbH & Co. (“BBC Chartering”) owns the BBC Louisiana. BBC Chartering chartered the vessel to Plaintiff OMG for the voyage. In May 2011, BBC Chartering commenced arbitration against OMG for damages, and OMG settled the claim for $761, 954.42 plus costs of the arbitration. Prior to reaching settlement, OMG put Defendants Gamesa Winds US, LLC (“Gamesa”) and M.S. Reed on notice that they might be liable for the damages.

OMG now brings an indemnification suit against Gamesa and M.S. Reed to recover the amount paid in settlement and related costs. Gamesa, as the shipper of the windmill tower sections, tower feet and transport tool in question, was responsible for packing and stowing the pieces on the vessel. Gamesa hired or otherwise contracted with M.S. Reed to stow and lash the windmill pieces on board the vessel.

According to M.S. Reed, NIC contracted with Gamesa to provide consulting and supervisory services with respect to the stowage, lashing, and securing of the windmill pieces. In that role, NIC planned, directed and controlled all aspects of the work performed by M.S. Reed with respect to the placement and welding of clips and D-rings and the application of chain lashings as part of the process of stowing and lashing the windmill pieces on board the vessel.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must “accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).

To survive dismissal, a complaint must allege facts sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Rather, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

III. DISCUSSION

NIC argues that M.S. Reed’s Third-Party Complaint alleges insufficient facts to: (1) state a claim for contribution; (2) state a claim for indemnity; and (3) ...


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