Judgment in Louisiana Personal Injury Lawsuit Dismissing Certain Defendants Not Final Because Genuine Issues of Material Fact Remained Regarding Whether Accident Occurred and Liability

Recently, the Louisiana First Circuit addressed the issue of shared fault for a car accident in a personal injury lawsuit involving multiple defendants. Specifically, the court in this opinion stated that defendants have a right to have the issue of liability determined in light of the doctrine of comparative negligence. The court also stated that any parties aggrieved have an actual interest in the appeal.  Plaintiff Justin Cotton brought a lawsuit for damages after a motor vehicle accident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He contended that as Patrick Kennedy, the driver in the other vehicle, and he turned right in adjacent lanes, Mr. Kennedy veered into his lane and struck his vehicle.  Mr. Cotton sued Mr. Kennedy, Bread Bizz, Inc. (Mr. Kennedy’s employer and the owner of the vehicle), and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company as the liability insurer (referred to collectively as “Bread Bizz defendants”).

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Louisiana Court Holds Clarification of Judgment is Not Modification When Injured Employee’s Payment of Medical Expenses Extinguished Claim Against Her Employer

In a workers’ compensation case, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal held that a clarification of a judgment does not modify that judgment, when the phraseology but not the substance has been amended.  After a complicated procedural history, the appellate court here held that the judge clarified that medical expenses shall be paid according to applicable law, and the injured employee’s payment of her expenses to her medical insurer extinguished her claim against the defendants for those paid expenses. Sharon Mangiaracina worked as a sales agent for defendant Avis Budget Group. While working, she fell from a chair and suffered injuries to her back, left shoulder, and thumb. She admitted that she had a pre-existing injury to her left shoulder and had received medical treatment. She also contended that the accident increased the pain in her shoulder and affected her ability to work. Ms. Mangiaracina elected to undergo left shoulder surgery, but Avis and its workers’ compensation insurer declined to pay, asserting the need for surgery was caused by her pre-existing condition. Aetna, Ms. Mangiaracina’s health insurer, paid most of Ms. Mangiaracina’s medical bills, although she did incur some out-of-pocket expenses. She then filed a disputed claim for compensation, seeking both medical and indemnity benefits from Avis and their workers’ compensation insurance company.

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Louisiana Court Holds Injured Plaintiff Failed to Carry Burden of Showing Employee Committed Tortious Conduct and Company Could be Held Vicariously Liable

The Louisiana Fourth Circuit recently reversed the trial court’s judgment in a case involving injuries inflicted by an alleged supermarket employee. The court in this case reviewed the burden upon a plaintiff seeking to prove vicarious liability and held that in this case, the “scant” evidence did not show the employment relationship between the unidentified assailant and the employer. David Robinson filed a lawsuit for damages for the injuries he claimed he sustained when an alleged North Broad Supermarket employee stabbed him in the head. Defendant Triple A owned and operated the Supermarket, located in New Orleans. Mr. Robinson alleged that while he was in the checkout line, the defendant, Ky Quang Nguyen, the Supermarket’s cashier, accused him of panhandling and asked him to leave the store. When Mr. Robinson refused and stated, “Make me,” Mr. Nguyen physically confronted him. A physical altercation began in the Supermarket and escalated outside the store.

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Louisiana Appellate Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Claim of Injury Due to Open Water Meter Cover Because Plaintiff Could Not Show Defendants’ Notice of Alleged Defect

In an opinion centered on whether the plaintiff had met his burden of proving the defendants knew of an alleged defect causing his alleged injury, the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a decision in favor of the defendants. In this personal injury lawsuit, the defendants had moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, stating that he could not meet his burden of showing that they had either actual or constructive knowledge of a defect on their property. The trial court had granted judgment in favor of the defendants, and upon review, the appellate court affirmed. Plaintiff Keith Russell was delivering patio material to the home of defendants Timothy and Angela Walsh in Houma, Louisiana, when he was allegedly injured on their property.  After exiting his delivery truck and unloading patio material onto his shoulder, the plaintiff walked onto the defendants’ property and realized he could not enter the backyard through the fence.  While approaching the other side of the property to unload the patio material, the plaintiff alleged that after he stepped into an uncovered water meter “hole,” he fell, injuring his knee. After his fall, the plaintiff notified his employer and was treated for his left knee injury. He then filed a petition for damages against the defendants. The defendants answered the petition and generally denied liability. They then moved for summary judgment on the grounds that no genuine issue of material fact existed, and the plaintiff would be unable to meet his burden to show the defendants […]

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