Malta v. Herbert S. Hiller Corp. et al.Annotate this Case
The issue presented for the Louisiana Supreme Court's review in this case arose after plaintiff sued for injuries sustained when a cylinder that formed part of a fire-suppressant system discharged while the plaintiff was moving the cylinder after it had been offloaded from a jack-up boat onto an oil production platform. Specifically, the issues in this case were: (1) whether the company hired to inspect the platform’s fire suppression systems owed a duty of care and, if so, whether it breached that duty; (2) whether the inspection company’s actions were the cause-in-fact and legal cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; (3) whether the inspection company was solely at fault; and (4) whether the general damage awards and the loss of consortium award are excessive. The Supreme Court found the trial court did not err in finding that the inspection company was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries; however, because there were multiple causes of the accident, the trial court manifestly erred in allocating all of the fault to the inspection company. Furthermore, based on the evidence of plaintiff’s injuries, the Supreme Court found the trial court abused its discretion in fixing plaintiff’s general damage awards for physical and psychological injuries and the loss of consortium award of plaintiff’s son. The trial court’s judgment was amended to allocate fault to the operator of the platform and plaintiff ,and to reduce the challenged damage awards. As amended, the trial court’s judgment was affirmed, and the matter was remanded for further proceedings.