Addressing a case involving a claim of negligence based on “deleterious” food, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal stated that a restaurant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law when the plaintiff had not met the causation and duty elements of her claim. In this opinion, the court looked at the plaintiff’s “ingestion” of the food at issue and whether medical evidence supported a finding that her alleged injuries resulted from consuming the spoiled food. Relying on Louisiana law and precedent, the court found that the plaintiff, in this case, had not met her burden of proof. During the early morning on Sunday, the plaintiff pulled through a fast-food drive-in and ordered a sandwich and a soda drink. Unfortunately, as she drank, she noticed a funny taste and discovered a live insect swimming in her drink. The plaintiff continued to attend her social obligations but felt nauseous and reported to the emergency room, where the tests came back normal. She then was prescribed medicine and discharged to follow up with her primary care physician.
Recently, a Louisiana Court of Appeal addressed the issue of liability in a personal injury lawsuit following injuries to a bicyclist struck by a car. The bicyclist plaintiff and the defendant driver presented their own versions of the incident, since there were no witnesses. In their opinion, the appellate court stated the rules of tort liability in Louisiana and the requirement that a plaintiff prove fault, causation, and damages in a negligence claim. Here, the lower court had found that the plaintiff failed to meet this burden, since there had not been physical evidence introduced by either party, and the court did not necessarily find the testimony of either party credible. Procedurally, when the trial court judge held the plaintiff had failed to meet his burden of proof and dismissed his claim, the plaintiff appealed that judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the lower court should have applied Louisiana law regarding comparative fault, among other issues. The defendant countered by stating that the judge had not researched the issue of fault when she had found the plaintiff did not meet his burden of proof. The appellate court stated that tort liability is set forth in La. CC. art. 2315. When a plaintiff brings a negligence action under Louisiana law, they must prove fault, causation, and damages. The court also stated that causation is a factual finding. On appeal, the standard is that of manifest error, meaning that the issue is whether the judge’s conclusion was reasonable. Here, the question was whether […]
In an appeal addressing liability for negligent conduct that led to injuries in a car accident, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal focused on rules of contract interpretation. Language within an agreement must be interpreted according to the common intent of the parties, which means assessing the general, plain meaning of the words in the contract. In this case, the issue was whether an agreement between the City and the State precluded the City’s liability for negligent acts by State employees. The plaintiff in this case suffered injuries in a car accident as a passenger in a van when the driver collided with another vehicle. The plaintiff, an inmate passenger, was being transported as part of an Interagency agreement between the City of DeRidder and the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The City owned the vehicle, and the driver worked for the State. The City argued that the State should be held responsible for the negligent conduct of its employees, despite the fact that the City was responsible for transporting inmates.
In order for appellate courts to have jurisdiction, or the ability to review and determine the merit of an appeal, there must first be a valid final judgment from a lower court. In a recent opinion, the Fourth Circuit made clear that a judgment must contain specific, “decretal” language in order to be considered valid. In this opinion, the issue was whether the judgment was in fact valid, since two lawsuits had been consolidated and judgment rendered against multiple defendants. The appellate court made clear that in order to have jurisdiction, they must have specific language that makes clear against whom the judgment has been rendered, and in which amount. When the court lacks jurisdiction to consider the merits of an appeal, it will be dismissed without prejudice or converted to an application for a supervisory writ. The facts indicated that Larry Spencer’s tractor-trailer collided with a truck in which Joseph Urquhart was a passenger. Urquhart filed a Petition for Damages against Spencer, as well as Mr. Spencer’s employer (the owner of the rig) and their liability insurer. Urquhart then amended his Petition to add the driver of the vehicle in which he was traveling, James Nye, as well as his insurer. Then, Mr. Nye filed a Petition for Damages against Spencer, the owner of the rig, and the liability insurer. The lawsuits were consolidated, and Urquhart’s claims against Mr. Nye and his insurer were dismissed after reaching a settlement.