In a case before the Louisiana First Circuit, the court addressed whether an automobile insurance policy exclusion was applicable. Often, policy exclusions are held to violate public policy. In this case, the court assessed the language of the policy and reviewed the particular facts, which did not center on a criminal act but instead on the act of fleeing or evading law enforcement. The facts of the case involve a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian. Jasmine Richardson, the pedestrian, appealed the district court judgment that dismissed her claim against the insurer of the vehicle that hit her. The district court held that the personal auto liability insurance policy had an exclusion that applied to the actions of the car’s driver. The car’s driver, Janelle Dupre, was driving home from a Mardi Gras parade when she was involved in several separate automobile accidents. The first two accidents involved other vehicles, and the third accident was with a pedestrian, Ms. Richardson.
A recent case before the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Second Circuit, underlines the hazards presented by a slow driver, particularly on an interstate highway. The plaintiff, Barbara Jewitt, brought a personal injury action against the defendant, Norma Alvarez. The trial court held that Ms. Alvarez was 100% at fault in causing the accident and awarded damages for $21,209.61. The facts show that this three-car accident took place on Interstate 20 in West Monroe, Louisiana. Ms. Alvarez drove a vehicle owned by her husband, defendant Julio Esparza. During trial, the parties stipulated that Ms. Alvarez was a permissive user of Mr. Esparza’s vehicle. Defendant Hazel Lee collided with Ms. Alvarez, rear-ending her vehicle. A few seconds later, Ms. Jewitt rear-ended Ms. Lee. Jacob May, a West Monroe police officer, witnessed the collisions and issued a citation to Ms. Alvarez for careless operation of the vehicle.
In a recent case before the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, the court addressed whether the lower court erred in assigning liability and in awarding damages. This case involved a rear-end vehicle collision and conflicting testimony concerning the facts of the accident. The defendants were The Gray Insurance Company, Grand Isle Shipyard, Inc., and Duane Smith. Plaintiff Rorilyn Prejeant had filed a lawsuit against Defendants, seeking damages for her injuries from the vehicle collision. During a bench trial, the parties described different accounts of the accident. Ms. Prejeant claimed that she changed lanes once and then planned to change lanes again, when she was rear-ended by Mr. Smith’s truck. Her vehicle was damaged, although she did not experience physical pain. Mr. Smith testified that Ms. Prejeant had changed lanes directly in front of him, unexpectedly. He testified that he had not seen her vehicle prior to the collision.
In a case before the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Second Circuit, the court addressed whether the trial court had erred in apportioning fault after a car accident. The defendants, Sarah Tugwell and her insurance company, American National General Insurance Company, appealed a judgment holding them liable to the plaintiffs, Joseph Solomon and Betty Blount. The accident occurred at an intersection, as Ms. Blount was driving a car owned by Mr. Solomon, who was the front passenger. According to Ms. Blount and Mr. Solomon, they stopped at a stop sign at the intersection, and the traffic was backed up in the westbound lane. After waiting about five to ten minutes, a driver of a stopped vehicle at the intersection waved them through. As they entered the intersection, Ms. Tugwell’s vehicle darted into the inside lane and collided with the driver’s side of Mr. Solomon’s car. Ms. Tugwell testified that, as she approached the intersection, she glimpsed a car that appeared to be running the stop sign. She testified that she was unable to avoid the collision and was not speeding. The police had not ticketed her for speeding.