Louisiana Record

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Silbo Industries ordered to submit documents related to Louisiana distribution in defective equipment claim


By Carrie Salls | Jan 21, 2019

NEW ORLEANS – Silbo Industries Inc. will be required to submit documents requested in a multi-party lawsuit by CGP Manufacturing Inc., according to an order entered Dec. 4 by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The court said the lawsuit in question claims that defective oil and gas exploration and production target elbows were sold to LLOG Exploration Co. LLC. Specifically, LLOG alleged that the elbows it purchased were cracked.

LLOG supplier Federal Flange Inc. said it purchased the allegedly defective elbows from CGP, “who ordered them from Silbo Industries,” the order said.

U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby | tulane.edu

After the lawsuit was filed, Silbo argued that the Louisiana court did not have jurisdiction because Silbo is based in New Jersey.

“According to Silbo, it has insufficient contacts with Louisiana, the forum state, because it directed the forging be shipped from India to a distributor in Texas and not Louisiana,” the order said. In connection with the dispute over whether the venue was appropriate, the court said CGP started the discovery process “to determine if there is sufficient evidence of minimum contacts to establish specific jurisdiction.”

As part of its discovery, CGP sent 13 questions to Silbo and asked it to produce related documents. Silbo asked the court to quash the discovery request or rule that it did not need to produce some of the requested documents. Specifically, the court said Silbo argued that the 13 questions “were overbroad and not specifically tailored to assessing facts to aid in the determination of whether personal jurisdiction exists over it in Louisiana.”

According to the order entered by U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby, Silbo will not be required to respond to questions related to its corporate history and structure, information related to products delivered to Texas and not Louisiana, or its Texas distribution and delivery agreements. However, Silbo will be required to turn over documents related to products delivered to and marketing efforts used in Louisiana

Roby said Silbo will not have to comply with discovery requests related to “the identification of all standards marked on Gupta products for sale or delivery in the U.S., Louisiana and Texas,” as CGP’s attorney admitted he was not sure if any of those markings exist and that the issue “is irrelevant and (the request) amounts to a fishing expedition.”

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