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Louisiana Court Grants Summary Judgment on Liability Issue When Defendant Saw Plaintiff’s Vehicle Stopped at Light Yet Crashed Into Rear of Vehicle

In an appeal involving issues of liability following a car accident, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit reviewed presumptions of liability that apply in certain scenarios. In particular, the court stated that a rear-end collision involves a presumption that the following vehicle was negligent.  In this appeal, the court reviewed a denial of the plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on liability. The court stated that summary judgment is a procedural device that is used to avoid a trial when there is no genuine issue of material fact. Material facts are those that either prevent or ensure recovery and affect a litigant’s ultimate success or determine the outcome of the lawsuit.  On appeal, courts ask the same questions that the trial court does regarding whether summary judgment is appropriate – whether there remains a genuine issue of material fact, and whether the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

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So You Have a Flood Damage Check With Your Mortgage Company’s Name on It? Contact Your Loss Draft Department

Louisiana homeowners who received a flood insurance payments relating to the 2016 floods may find their mortgage company’s name on flood insurance check allocated towards structural damage payment. Mortgage companies generally require their name be placed on flood or other property damage checks that relate to the structure to make sure the property is fixed or the mortgage paid off. The mortgage companies usually have a “Loss Draft Department” to communicate with for purposes of disbursing the funds.  Most have their own Loss Draft procedure. Some are listed online and others require you to call for information. Fannie Mae, the leading source of financing for mortgage lenders, sets forth Servicer Responsibilities for Fannie Mae Servicers and the action to be taken depending on whether the property can be legally rebuilt.  If the property cannot be rebuilt, the insurance loss proceeds are used to reduce the outstanding mortgage loan debt. If the property can be rebuild, the Servicer will require details of the damage, including information about the proof of loss, contractor to be used, plans etc.  and will monitor the disbursement of proceeds for purposes of making repairs, monitor the repairs and inspect the repairs from time to time.  The Servicer may also require a lien release.

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Are You Concerned That Your Louisiana Homeowners Policy Will Be Cancelled For Claims Made Or Acts Of God?

For Louisiana Homeowners, it is important to understand when and how your homeowners insurance company can or cannot cancel or refuse to renew your policy. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHY If your insurance company decides it wants to cancel or not renew your policy, you have the right to know why. If you make a written request for the reason of cancellation, the company must respond within six months and specify in writing the reason for the cancellation or refusal to renew. Any insurer cancelling or refusing to renew a policy providing property, casualty, or liability insurance on any property shall, upon written request of the policy’s named insured, specify in writing the reason or reasons for such cancellation or refusal to renew. Such request shall be mailed or delivered to the insurer within six months after the effective date of cancellation or expiration. LSA-R.S. 22:1265 A (1) NO CANCELLATION FOR ACTS OF GOD You should be aware that your insurance company cannot cancel, refuse to renew or increase the amount of the premium on your homeowners policy based solely on a loss caused by an “Act of God.” An “Act of God” is defined as an incident due directly to natural causes and exclusively without human intervention. However, the company may make such changes to your policy due to an “Act of God” if they make the changes on an area-wide rating basis at the beginning of a new policy period.   REASONS FOR CANCELLATION, NONPAYMENT OF PREMIUM, FRAUD, […]

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Louisiana Appellate Court Affirms Lower Court’s Denial of Summary Judgment When City May Have Had Notice of Defect Posed by Removed Parking Meter

In a recent appeal, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit reviewed the trial court’s denial of the City of Gretna and their insurance company’s motion for summary judgment.  The issue before the court centered on whether there remained a genuine issue of material fact regarding the plaintiff’s claim.  In this case, the claim was that the City was liable for damages suffered when the plaintiff was injured in an open hole remaining from a removed parking meter.  The appellate court stated the elements necessary to prove this claim, and it found that the defendants had not shown they were without constructive knowledge of the hole. Plaintiff Darlene Schexnayder allegedly fell into a hole created from the removal of a parking meter in Gretna.  She claimed the City of Gretna was negligent when it failed to alert pedestrians to the exposed hole.  Ms. Schexnayder had been walking across a grassy area in front of the Second Parish Court building in Gretna when she suffered injuries after falling. The City of Gretna and their insurance company filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that there was no evidence that the City had notice of the allegedly defective condition causing Ms. Schexnayder’s injuries.  The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment.

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