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In Fifth Circuit, Bercaw Maintains Summary Judgment in Favor of Fieldwood Energy LLC

February 7, 2019

Dwayne Mosley, a production operator nominally employed by QPS, filed suit against Fieldwood Energy LLC among others for low back, neck, head and other injuries for a slip and fall on the deck of Fieldwood’s platform located on the Outer Continental Shelf, off the coast of Louisiana. The district court concluded that Fieldwood had established that Mr. Mosley was its borrowed servant as a matter of law, and as a result, Fieldwood was immune from Mr. Mosley’s suit. 

The U.S. Fifth Circuit in Mosley v. Wood Group PSN, Inc., affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Fieldwood, after noting two significant issues concerning Mr. Mosley’s borrowed servant status. First, the Fifth Circuit rejected any argument that Mr. Mosley could not qualify as Fieldwood’s borrowed servant because he was a specialist who did not need to be told how to do his job. Second, the court of appeals concluded that the language of Fieldwood’s master service agreement with QPS did not automatically foreclose a finding that Mosley was a borrowed servant, in light of the requirement that QPS endorse its insurance policy to include a borrowed servant endorsement. Because the reality at the worksite and the parties’ actions in carrying out the contract can impliedly modify express contract terms (and the remainder of the factors weighed in favor of his borrowed servant status), the Fifth Circuit concluded that Mr. Mosley was Fieldwood’s borrowed servant as a matter of law.