Oil Spill Litigation Dives Down Deep at Oral Argument


Greg and Will Ladnier got the call in June 2010: their vessel was needed to help with efforts to clean up and remediate areas affected by the Deewater Horizon/BP Oil Spill. Shortly thereafter their company, Gulfstream Enterprises, Inc., was hired by Knights Marine Industrial Services, Inc.  For months Gulfstream participated in recovery efforts, transporting personnel and materials out to Mississippi’s barrier islands, doing whatever they were directed to do by KMI or BP’s general contractor, US Environmental Services.

After being notified in December 2010 their services were no longer needed, Gulfstream submitted its final invoice and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The receivables began to pile up after KMI imposed a 10% retainage in August 2010.  

Efforts to resolve the matter proved futile, after KMI had claimed it had not been paid in full by USES for Gulfstream’s inovices and wanted Gulfstream to take a similar discount. However, after Gulfstream sued KMI for the balance owed, USES testified it had paid KMI in full for Gulfstream’s invoices along with a 20% markup.

At trial the County Court of Jackson County awarded Gulfstream compensatory damages ($~143K), prejudgment interest beginning the date the complaint was filed and attorney fees.  KMI appealed to Circuit Court, and Gulfstream appealed on the issue of prejudgment interest and punitive damages.  Both were denied.

Thereafter KMI appealed to the Mississippi Court of Appeals, which heard oral argument on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.  You can watch the argument by going to the following link: https://courts.ms.gov/appellate_courts/sc/oawebcasts.php?vid=oQDeXpRqD7o.The argument commences 30 minutes into the video.  

Stephen Burrow represented Gulfstream at oral argument, continuing his representation of them from the beginning through trial and subsequent briefing.