ORDER AND REASONS
LEMMON, District Judge.
Cheramie Johnson alleges that she was injured on May 24, 1999, when she lifted and moved boxes of frozen waste aboard the fixed platform known as Compressor Station 523A. Johnson was working as a steward pursuant to an "Alliance Agreement" (agreement) for the performance of offshore catering and janitorial services between her employer, Delta Catering Management, Inc. (Delta Catering or contractor), and El Paso Energy Corporation and its affiliates (El Paso or company). The fixed platform contains quarters and equipment and is owned and operated by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (Tennessee Gas) in the marshes near Cocodrie, Louisiana. Tennessee Gas is an affiliate of El Paso.
Johnson filed a complaint, alleging that she sustained injuries as a result of Tennessee Gas's negligence in maintaining hazardous premises, failing to exercise due care for her safety, failing to remove boxes of frozen waste, and failing to provide a safe work area. Tennessee Gas filed a motion for summary judgment.
A. Summary judgment standard
Summary judgment is proper when, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant, "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and ... the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Amburgey v. Corhart Refractories Corp., 936 F.2d 805, 809 (5th Cir.1991); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). If the moving party meets the initial burden of establishing that there is no genuine issue, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to produce evidence of the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The nonmovant cannot satisfy its summary judgment burden with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or only a scintilla of evidence. Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir.1994) (en banc). A fact is "material" if its resolution in favor of one party might affect the outcome of the lawsuit. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). An issue is "genuine" if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. If the opposing party bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party does not have to submit evidentiary documents to properly support its motion, but need only point out the absence of evidence supporting the essential elements of the opposing party's case. Saunders v. Michelin Tire Corp., 942 F.2d 299, 301 (5th Cir.1991).
B. Statutory employer
Tennessee Gas contends that it is Johnson's statutory employer and that the sole remedy available to her under Louisiana law is workers' compensation benefits.
Johnson asserts that she is not the statutory employer of Tennessee Gas. She contends that she is an employee of Delta and that the agreement with El Paso
Under the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act, workers' compensation benefits are the exclusive remedy of an employee against the employer or any "principal" for injury, compensable sickness, or disease. La.Rev.Stat. 23:1032(A)(1) (West 1998). Principal is defined as "any person who undertakes to execute any work which is a part of his trade, business, or occupation in which he was engaged at the time of the injury, or which he had contracted to perform and contracts with any person for the execution thereof." La.Rev.Stat. 23:1032(A)(b)(2). The 1997 amended version of section 1061 provides in relevant part:
In this case, there was a written agreement between Delta Catering and El Paso and its affiliates. Under article V of the agreement, the contractor retained full authority as an independent contractor to direct and control the work of its employees. However, pursuant to an amendment to the agreement, the company and the contractor agreed that the company was the principal or statutory employer of the contractor's employees for purposes of section 23:1061(A)(3).
Contrary to Johnson's argument, there is no conflict between article V's designation of independent contractor and the amendment to the agreement defining Tennessee Gas as a statutory employer. "Even if a worker is found to be an independent contractor, he may still be subject to the workers' compensation laws if he is also determined to be a statutory employee under Louisiana Revised Statutes 23:1032 or 23:1061." See Salmon v. Exxon Corp., 824 F.Supp. 81, 84 (M.D.La.1993). Based on the contract between Delta Catering and El Paso, there is a rebuttable presumption of a statutory employer relationship which Johnson must overcome by showing that the catering work is not an integral part of or essential to Tennessee Gas's operation.
Johnson contends that the catering services are not part of Tennessee Gas's business of oil and gas production. She argues that, although hiring a catering company is desirable, it is not essential for the operation of defendant's platform because other arrangements could have been made. Johnson is presumed by virtue of the contract to be the statutory employee of Tennessee Gas, and she does not provide any evidence to support her position that the food service is not essential to the operation. Further, she appears to concede that some arrangement to provide food for the employees on the platform was necessary.
Tennessee Gas presents the affidavit of its area manager, Larry Slowik, stating that Tennessee Gas is in the business of operating the compressor station on a 24-hour basis. Slovik asserts that, in order to conduct the operation, it is necessary that Tennessee Gas provide food and housing for its workers.
There are no disputed issues of material fact concerning Tennessee Gas's need to provide food for its employers who are housed on the fixed platform. Therefore, the court concludes that the catering services provided by Johnson in particular and Delta in general are essential to the ability of Tennessee Gas to operate the compressor station on a 24-hour basis.