Attorney Leslie Richardson Obtains Dismissal of $2 million Contribution Claim
Jun 24, 2022
Dallas partner Leslie Richardson obtained a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of a $2 million third-party contribution claim related to a pipeline explosion. Leslie moved for a complete dismissal of the third-party claim based on both the general contractor and subcontractor’s failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
The general contractor originally filed suit, seeking contractual indemnification from its subcontractor for damages incurred after a 2018 pipeline explosion. The subcontractor filed a third-party complaint seeking contribution from Leslie’s client under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 33, claiming an employee of the client was negligent, caused the explosion, and should be responsible for the resulting damage and costs to rebuild the pipeline.
After challenging the sufficiency of both the general contractor’s complaint and the subcontractor’s third-party complaint, the subcontractor sought leave to amend its pleading under Rule 15. The proposed amendment, however, was considered futile by the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Leave was denied because the subcontractor’s contribution claim was limited to what was sufficiently pleaded by the general contractor, who chose not to seek leave to remedy its defective complaint. The court then held that the general contractor’s underlying claim against the subcontractor was fatally defective and could not serve as the basis for the subcontractor’s contribution claim against our client. Therefore, the contribution claims were dismissed in their entirety.