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LouisianaFloodCrop-1-291x300Under normal circumstances when flooding is not severe, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires a policyholder to send the insurer a complete, signed, and sworn-to proof of loss within sixty (60) days after the date of loss. However, when flooding is extensive, the time period may be extended by FEMA pursuant to 44 C.F.R §61.13 (d).  For certain August, 2016 Louisiana flooding, FEMA granted a 60 day extension and is now granting a second 60 day extension.

To allow policyholders additional time to finalize their claims, FEMA issue an additional limited waiver of the 60-day proof of loss requirement by extending the period another 60 days. With this extension, a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholder will have a total of 180 days following the date of loss to provide the completed, signed, and sworn-to proof of loss to the insurer. This waiver is issued pursuant to 44 CFR § 61.13(d) and the SFIP. This waiver does not alter any other terms or conditions of the NFIP.

The limited waiver applies to all NFIP claims associated with FICO Number 679,4 whether the NFIP issued the policy directly or through the Write Your Own (WYO) Program.

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The Louisiana Supreme Court recently addressed whether an indoor trampoline park could compel arbitration according to an agreement signed by the parent of a minor injured while jumping on a trampoline.  In this decision, the court reviewed rules of contract law and examined the specifics of the location and the wording of the arbitratitrampolineon clause to find that in fact it was adhesionary and unenforceable.

Sky Zone Lafayette is an indoor trampoline park, and patrons must complete a “Participant Agreement, Release and Assumption of Risk” before participating in the facilities at Sky Zone.  The Agreement has a clause that compels arbitration and waives the participant’s right to a trial.

The plaintiff in this case completed the Agreement before her husband took their son to Sky Zone. Their son was injured on a trampoline, and the family brought a lawsuit against Sky Zone, individually and on behalf of their son.  They alleged that Sky Zone had been negligent and that this caused their son’s injuries.  Sky Zone responded and sought to compel arbitration under the Agreement. The plaintiffs contended that they did not knowingly consent to arbitration and that the Agreement was ambiguous and adhesional. The district court overruled the exception, and the court of appeal denied Sky Zone’s writ application.

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Recently, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal for Louisiana addressed whether a disabled former New Orleans Police Department officer should have accrued sick and annual leave after he was discharged from the Department. The plaintiff in this case worked as a New Orleans Police Department officer until he was found to be disabled as a result of depression resulting from an investigation into payroll fraud by agreementthe Department. In 1988, Plaintiff filed a Petition for Workers’ Compensation, naming as defendants the City of New Orleans and the Police Department.  The parties entered a consent judgment, which became the subject of the litigation before the appellate court.

The main issue before the court was whether the consent judgment could be enforced against the City. Plaintiff contended that his claim was a workers’ compensation matter, and since he still received workers’ compensation disability payments, he was an employee of Department.  As an employee, Plaintiff argued that he continued to accrue annual and sick leave, making that portion of the consent judgment enforceable.

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In a case before the Louisiana Supreme Court, the issue was whether the plaintiffs’ claims that a hospital did not properly maintain and service equipment used to sterilize surgical instruments fell under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act (MMA). The district court had held that it was a tort claim, so it was not within the MMA. The significance for the plaintiffs was that under the MMA, the claim must first be presented to a review board, and it could therefore be dismissed on procedural grounds.  scissors

The plaintiffs were a husband and wife who sued The Spine Hospital of Louisiana on the ground that the husband had developed an infection after spine surgery. They alleged that the Hospital had not properly sterilized or cleaned their instruments, and the staff and employees did not use proper aseptic technique before surgery.  They sought to recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and the wife’s loss of society and companionship.

The Hospital argued that as a “qualified health care provider” under the MMA, the plaintiffs’ claims had not been first presented to a medical review board, as required by Louisiana law.  The plaintiffs contended that coverage under the MMA must be strictly construed, and their allegations were centered on tort liability.

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In a recent case before the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal, the court reviewed a case in which the workers’ compensation judge found the claimant had made willful misstatements for the purpose of obtaining Louisiana workers’ compensation benefits.  In this case, the court stated the level of proof necessary to show an injured worker’s false representations are more than inadvertent statements. In this case, medical testimony and surveillance video showed that the injured worker had in fact made false statements in order to receive benefits.scales

In April 2012, Earnest Hypolite suffered a workplace accident when he slipped and fell during work at the M.A. Patout sugar mill. He aggravated a previous back injury.  His employer paid indemnity and medical benefits through their workers’ compensation insurer.  The insurer then terminated the benefits after investigating Mr. Hypolite’s claim and concluding that he made false statements to his treating physician and that he had been collecting income from a personal business.

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Recently, the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit affirmed a judgment in favor of the defendants in a personal injury lawsuit brought by parents on behalf of their minor son, who was injured at school while moving a table, per a teacher’s instruction. The appellate court reviewed Louisiana law concerning claims of negligent supervision and stated that the law requires a court to consider the age of the children involved in the alleged incident. Furthermore, there must be proof of a causal link between the insufficient supervision and the accident before imposing liability on a school board.

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In February 2012, the P.E. Coach at Jonesboro Hodge High School instructed Jordan Boston and Clayton Hampton, two ninth-grade students, to move a table from the gym to the academic building following a science fair. While carrying the table, it slipped from Clayton’s hands and landed on Jordan’s left big toe. As a result, Jordan suffered a fractured left big toe.

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The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal recently issued a decision in a multiple-vehicle automobile lawsuit involving issues of fault and damages.  The court held that the trial court had erroneously allocated fault, and based on the evidence, the two individuals previously without fault were in faccar accidentt negligent and partly responsible for the collision. Specifically, the court analyzed whether two individuals had breached a duty of care by agreeing to tow a vehicle at a high rate of speed.

In their discussion, the court stated that the fault issue centered on State Farm alleging that the 95% apportionment of fault to Ms. Decuir had been an error.  State Farm asserted Mr. Jacobs should have been at least partially at fault, since he operated the towed truck.  Additionally, State Farm contended that a larger percentage of fault should have been assigned to Mr. Sampson because he did not safely regulate his speed, as the driver of the lead truck.

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Recently, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal addressed an appeal by a school teacher who suffered injuries while working at her assigned school, in the Lafayette Parish School District.  This lawsuit centered on both workers’ compensation and tort issues following the battery of the teacher by a student known to have formerly presented dschool hallwayisciplinary issues. The appellate court upheld the lower court’s judgment in favor of the school board, dismissing the plaintiff’s tort claims.

In this case, Jenna Field, “Plaintiff,” worked as an English teacher at Northside High School. One of her students, Charles Benjamin, Jr., was attempting to leave the classroom in order to fight with another student in the hallway. As Plaintiff tried to block him by holding the door to the hallway closed, Mr. Benjamin repeatedly hit her in the stomach. He was arrested and charged with battery. Mr. Benjamin pled no contest.

At the time of the battery, Plaintiff was six weeks pregnant. Her doctor had noted that she was bleeding after the incident but stated it may have been coincidental, since bleeding is not uncommon for pregnancies at that stage. Later, Plaintiff’s child was born with an injury to her kidney, determined to be congenital in nature.  Plaintiff received and continued at the time of the appeal to receive psychological treatment.

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In a recent appeal, the Louisiana Third Circuit reviewed whether a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident had met her burden of showing the defendant driver was an uninsured/underinsured motorist. The burden remains on the plaintiff to present a prima facie showing of uninsured/underinsured coverage, and in this case, an affidavit by a rental car employee did not meet the evidentiary standard required to prove this status. The court reversed the trial court’s judgment againtersectioninst the automobile insurer and in favor of the plaintiff.

The facts of this case centered on a car accident that took place at an intersection in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Mary King’s vehicle backed into Crystal Stephens’ vehicle. Both women had been driving a rental car. Safeway Insurance Co. of Louisiana had insured Ms. Stephens’ vehicle.

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In a recent workers’ compensation case, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal addressed whether an employment relationship existed between an injured individual and an owner of horse stalls who violated a lease agreement by leasing the stalls to an unlicensed trainer.  The accident victim had relied on the fact that she was covered by workers’ compensation when she agreed to exercise the horses. The court found that an employment relationship existed, and the employer and its insurer had not reasonably countered the evidence presented by the injurhorse ed individual and had not articulated an objective reason for denying the benefits.

On review, the court stated that findings of fact shall not be set aside unless there was a manifest error, or they were clearly wrong.   The facts of this case made clear that Jill Neece, the claimant, was injured while exercising horses at Evangeline Downs Training Center.  She filed an action for workers’ compensation benefits and also sought medical treatment and expenses, penalties, and attorney fees against Damien Scott, Scott Gelner, and the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (“FHBPA”).

Ms. Neece began working at Evangeline Downs in late 2012 and then began galloping horses for Damien Simon in January 2013. On January 14, 2013, she was thrown from a two-year-old colt she was galloping for Mr. Simon. Ms. Neece suffered a back injury. Mr. Simon was not a licensed trainer and had his horses stalled at Evangeline Downs through a sublease agreement with Scott Gelner.  Mr. Gelner leased 10 stalls from Evangeline Downs and then, in violation of the lease agreement, subleased to Mr. Simon.  Mr. Simon hired Ms. Neece to exercise the horses that were stalled under Mr. Gelner’s trainer number. Ms. Neece was listed on Mr. Gelner’s employee list, and she testified at trial that if she had known she was not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, she would not have agreed to exercise Mr. Simon’s horses.

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