Petrobras America Inc. v. Vicinay Cadenas, S.A., No. 14-20589 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Petrobras and Underwriters filed suit against Vicinay, the manufacturer of an underwater tether chain that broke just after being installed to secure the piping system for oil production from the Outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. The district court granted summary judgment for Vicinay based upon the maritime law economic loss doctrine. Underwriters then sought leave to amend their complaint, alleging, for the first time, that Louisiana law, not maritime law, applied to this dispute under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). 43 U.S.C. 1333(a)(2). The court held that the choice of law prescribed by OCSLA is statutorily mandated and is consequently not waivable by the parties. The court also held that the applicable law is that of the adjacent state of Louisiana, not admiralty law. Accordingly, the court reversed the lower court's denial of Underwriters' motion to amend and remanded for application of Louisiana law.