tractor_red_tractor_red-scaledWhen an item is repaired, it is reasonable to expect it to be safe and free of defects upon its return. However, when an injury occurs after a product’s repair, the injured party is entitled to seek damages. For example, Joe McPherson suffered a knee injury after the battery compartment of a tractor, which Ronald Dauzat repaired, fell apart. The question of negligence and responsibility arose, leading to a legal dispute and subsequent appeal.

Dauzat sold his old tractor to McPherson. However, it did not function properly, so Dauzat took it in for repairs. Dauzat notified McPherson the tractor was ready to be picked up. When McPherson arrived at the shop, Dauzat was not there. But two men he assumed were employees permitted him to mount and inspect the tractor. When McPherson tried to demount, the battery compartment fell apart, and he fell and wounded his knee

McPherson filed a lawsuit against Dauzat for his injury. His complaint alleged the defective tractor caused his injuries. He stated that his injury would have been prevented if the battery box had been firmly latched. Dauzat filed an involuntary dismissal and claimed McPherson failed to present evidence that the unlatched box was the cause of his fall. 

truth_newspaper_news_printed-scaledHonesty is always the best policy. This proverb rings especially true in the legal system, where truthfulness and transparency are vital to maintaining the legal process. Failure to tell the truth or even a mistake in remembering the facts can bring severe consequences, as Mark and Paulette Moore discovered after a car accident on Interstate 10 in Iberville Parish.

Russell Charles was driving his vehicle and pulling a flatbed trailer when a pick-up driven by Mark Moore suddenly rear-ended him. The pick-up was the property of Moore Leasing LLC, a company Mark and Paulette Moore, Mark’s wife, owned together and insured by State Farm.

About six months after the accident, Moore signed an affidavit stating he was not in the course of employment when the car accident occurred and that the State Farm policy was the only liability insurance available that would give Charles coverage for the injuries from the accident.

biker_motorcycle_stunt_man_0-scaledEven if you have a unique job like a stunt performer, you can still get brought down to Earth by the complexities of determining what your insurance policies do and do not cover if you are involved in an insurance coverage dispute. In that case, it is important to understand the plain language of your insurance contract, how different provisions in the policy interact, and how courts interpret insurance policies. 

Joshua Petrozziello worked as a professional stunt performer at Flypaper Productions. He was injured when a piece of equipment malfunctioned while performing a stunt as part of a movie product. As a result, he filed a lawsuit against Noway, Inc., who had manufactured and operated the equipment, and Employers Fire Insurance Company, who issued Flypaper’s primary and excess general liability policies. 

The parties settled all claims except Petrozziellos’ lawsuit against the excess liability policy from Employers Fire Insurance Company. That insurance policy had an exclusion for injuries sustained by an “employee of any insured” during and during employment. The Petrozziellos argued that this employee-injury exclusion had to be interpreted harmoniously with the “Separation of Insureds” policy provision. They claimed because Petrozziollo was not an employee of Noway, the exclusion did not apply. The trial court agreed with this argument and granted summary judgment in their favor. 

georgia_state_coat_arms-scaledWhen a loved one dies in a car accident, dealing with insurance is likely the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, insurance policies can be complicated, with many details and exceptions. If you do not fully understand your insurance coverage, you might find yourself in a difficult situation when seeking compensation from your insurance company. This is especially important when your vehicles and insurance policies cover multiple states. 

Cesar Medina was involved in a car accident in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, that unfortunately resulted in his death. His wife filed a lawsuit against the driver of the other car, its insurer, and Medina’s insurer. The car Medina was driving at the time of the accident was owned by someone who lived in Georgia. 

Medina’s insurer filed a summary judgment motion, arguing Medina’s insurance policy did not cover uninsured/underinsured motorists as of the date of the accident. In addition, the insurer argued the car had a Georgia insurance policy, and the vehicle’s owner had signed a waiver rejecting uninsured motorist coverage. The insurer provided the waiver as evidence. Medina’s wife did not oppose the motion. The trial court found Georgia law governed and granted Medina’s insurer’s summary judgment motion and denied Medina’s wife’s request for a new trial. Medina’s wife then appealed. 

fully_integrated_whole_bodyNavigating bureaucracy and red tape is a common experience when dealing with government agencies and trying to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you find yourself frustrated by what seems like an improper requirement, you might be able to challenge an administrative agency’s actions as exceeding its authority, as Calvin Arrant did here. 

While working at Wayne Acree PLS, Arrant was involved in an accident where a truck that ran a red light hit his vehicle. Arrant consulted an attorney and then met with an orthopedic surgeon because he started having back pain that went down his legs. The doctor recommended an MRI. 

His attorney contacted Acree’s workers’ compensation carrier to determine if it would agree to cover the MRI. Twice, Arrant requested approval for the MRI from the medical director under La. R.S. 23:1203.1. Both times, the medical director denied Arrant’s request via fax. 

child_children_doctor_bags-scaledIn the event that you find yourself in the challenging position of pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor, the presence of an expert witness becomes paramount. Such a witness is instrumental in establishing the negligence of your treating physician. A recent case originating from the Parish of East Baton Rouge sheds light on the specific qualifications required for expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases and the circumstances in which their testimony may be deemed unnecessary. Join us as we delve into this notable court ruling, which clarifies the vital role of experts and the instances where their expertise may be exempted.

Landon Lee, a 13-month-old, was taken to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOL) for respiratory distress and vomiting. He was evaluated in the emergency room and admitted into Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Unfortunately, his condition worsened even with incubation and life-saving interventions. He was transferred to Ochsner Medical Center via helicopter to be admitted to the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation unit. He was given CPR during transfer but pronounced dead 44 minutes after arriving at Ochsner. 

Landon’s mother, Anjel Lee, then filed suit on her and Landon’s behalf against OLOL and Dr. Shannon Boudreaux, the pediatrician and emergency room physician at OLOL, who treated Landon. Lee argued that OLOL and Boudreaux failed to properly care for and treat Landon. OLOL denied the allegations, arguing it was a qualified healthcare provider under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act, La. R.S. 40:123.1 provides that qualified healthcare providers have limited liability for malpractice claims. The hospital also denied that any action or inaction on their part was the cause of Landon’s death. Boudreaux also argued that he was a qualified healthcare provider under Louisiana law and was entitled to limited liability.

slip_heads_up_warningPersonal injury cases are notorious for their intricate nature, often posing challenges in determining fault and establishing liability. Complications escalate further when discrepancies arise regarding the facts surrounding the incident. When blame is uncertain, and parties refuse to accept responsibility, the legal landscape becomes increasingly convoluted. 

A recent Louisiana Court of Appeals case offered a detailed examination of an issue of material fact in determining fault in a personal injury lawsuit. By exploring the court’s decision and the supporting evidence, we gain insight into the complexities inherent in such cases and their implications on a motion for summary judgment.

James Palmisano fell at work due to the water in the hallway. Palmisano alleged that the water leaked from the men’s and women’s toilets. He filed a lawsuit for his injuries, claiming two plumbing companies, Prejean and Colville Plumbing & Irrigation, Inc., were called to fix the problem but didn’t. 

valves_sprinkler_water_pipe-scaledMardi Gras, a time of joyous celebration, took an unexpected turn for a store near a French Quarter hotel when a sprinkler head malfunctioned, resulting in significant water damage. Despite the storeowner’s insurance covering the damages, a lawsuit ensued to determine the hotel’s liability for the losses incurred. This case highlights the complexities of determining responsibility and legal remedies in property damage cases, emphasizing the importance of seeking legal counsel to navigate such situations effectively.

Hotel Management of New Orleans (“HMNO”) owned and operated the French Market Inn. A sprinkler head located in the hotel was triggered during Mardi Gras, which caused a water leak and flooding in the store two floors below. The storeowner claimed water leaked into its store for approximately two hours. During that time, HMNO did not try to turn off the sprinkler but instead waited for the fire department to turn off the sprinkler. This caused damage to the store.

State Farm insured the storeowner and paid the storeowner approximately $41k under its policy. State Farm then filed a lawsuit against HMNO and its insurer, Companion Property, and Casualty Insurance Company, seeking repayment of the $41k it paid to the storeowner under its policy. The trial court found in favor of State Farm and ordered HMNO and Companion to pay the stipulated damages of $41k. HMNO and Companion appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in finding that HMNO knew or should have known the sprinkler was defective, HMNO employees were negligent, and denying HMNO’s motion for involuntary dismissal. 

justice_scales_balance_lawyer-scaledLosing a lawsuit can lead to frustration with your attorney, and you might contemplate pursuing a legal malpractice claim against them. However, it is crucial to comprehend the essential elements required to succeed in such a claim; otherwise, your case may face dismissal. The Klein v. Wynne lawsuit examines the importance of meeting all the requirements to prevail in a legal malpractice lawsuit and highlights the potential consequences of failing to do so.

Leverette Klein hired lawyer Vincent Wynne Jr., who worked for Wynne, Goux & Lobello, to provide legal advice and services related to a foreclosure in St. Tammany Parish. Klein claimed he had an assignment of a mortgage note and money judgment recognized a mortgage for a property in Lacombe, Louisiana. Klein said he wanted Sandra Parnell, his ex-girlfriend, removed from the house. Klein told Wynne that Parnell had some of his movable property that she would not return. Wynne resolved the issue and tried to contact Klein to see if he wanted to pursue the foreclosure. Klein claimed that Wynne did not contact him, whereas Wynne claimed Klein was unresponsive. 

Klein fired Wynne as his attorney and hired another attorney. He then learned he would be unable to recover for the mortgage on the property because it was not timely revived under the ten-year period under La. C.C. art. 3501. Leverette Klein brought a legal malpractice against Vincent Wynne Jr., the law firm Wynne, Goux & Lobello, and their insurer, Greenwich Insurance Company. Klein claimed that because of Wynne or his law firm’s failure, he could not foreclose his property and sustained damages. The trial court found that the assignment of the mortgage note was unenforceable when Klein had hired Wynne, so Klein had not proved he had suffered any damages. The trial court dismissed Klein’s legal malpractice claims. Klein appealed the trial court’s judgment.

police_cop_police_uniforms-scaledExperiencing termination from your job is a difficult situation, especially when it feels unjust. Scott Poiencot faced this unfortunate circumstance when he was terminated from his position as a police officer in the Lafayette Police Department, where he had served for several years. As a civil service employee, Louisiana law provided a specific procedure for appealing his termination. This case sheds light on employees’ challenges in challenging an unfair termination. In addition, it emphasizes the importance of seeking legal guidance to understand their rights and navigate the appeals process.

Before his termination, Scott Poiencot had been involved in three different Internal Affairs investigations. The first investigation (AD2012-007) involved a confidential document being removed from a police file and eventually released to the media. It was discovered that a Lieutenant in the police department had removed the document initially and whited out some information before providing it to Poeincot.  The second investigation (AD2012-010) involved Poiencot secretly recording a phone conversation involving a Major in the police department. Poiencot eventually admitted to downloading the conversation, which was released to the media. The third investigation (AD2012-012) involved Poiencot’s refusal to submit to a polygraph as part of the first investigation related to releasing a confidential document. His termination letter referenced all three prior investigations with which he was involved. 

After his termination, Poiencot appealed to the Lafayette Municipal Fire & Police Civil Service Board (the “Board”). The Board voted 5-0 to uphold his termination, finding it was made for cause and in good faith. The Board then issued a final judgment. 

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