Gordon Hansmeier and Chris Wills Win Partial Summary Judgment Motion for Defense in North Dakota State Court (Williams County)

Gordon Hansmeier and Chris Wills won a partial summary judgment motion for defense that they filed in North Dakota state court on behalf of Murex Petroleum Corporation (an oil and gas operator). The case involves a plaintiff (Robert Simmons) who was severely injured when a suspended pipe slipped through an elevator (or clamp) that struck him. At the time of the accident, Simmons was working for WISCO, Inc. on an oil well near Tioga, North Dakota that was operated by Murex.

Murex had a master service agreement with WISCO that required WISCO to defend and indemnify Murex for any claims resulting from injuries to WISCO's employees. A few years after WISCO signed the agreement, WISCO sold its assets to WISCO, Inc. No one at WISCO or WISCO, Inc. told Murex about the sale. Simmons sued Murex, and Murex tendered the defense and indemnification to WISCO, Inc. WISCO, Inc. declined the tender.

Hansmeier and Wills filed a motion for partial summary judgment, arguing that WISCO, Inc. had an obligation to defend Murex under the terms of the master service agreement. The district court agreed, granted the motion, and ordered WISCO, Inc. to defend Murex. The case is currently pending. WISCO, Inc. has filed a motion for reconsideration and advised that it intends to appeal the Court's order.

Simmons v. Cudd Pressure Control, Inc., No. 53-2014-CV-00665 (Williams County District Court)