Articles Posted in Summary Judgment

dsc05934_0-scaledDealing with the aftermath of a flood is never fun. This is especially true when the flood damages one of your vehicles. This is the situation Michael Jacobs found himself in after one of his cars was damaged in a flood. After a long fight with his insurance company, he eventually prevailed and was awarded damages. 

Jacobs owned multiple vehicles that GEICO insured. His parish in North Louisiana was affected by heavy flooding. When the flooding started, Jacobs and his brother tried to move the vehicles from his house to higher ground but were unable to remove them before the floodwaters rose, so they could not drive up to the house. Jacobs waded through the floodwater to retrieve one of the vehicles, a 2001 Honda Accord. In the days following the flood, the Honda kept overheating. Jacobs claimed this had only occurred after the flood. 

Jacobs submitted a claim to GEICO for the damage to the vehicle. The insurance inspector did not identify any flood-related problems and determined the upper radiator hose had blown out. Another mechanic gave Jacobs an opinion and concluded there were issues with his spark plugs. GEICO ultimately denied Jacobs’ claim because it had suffered a mechanical failure that was not flood-related. Jacobs filed a lawsuit against GEICO, alleging his Honda had been damaged from the flooding. At trial, the court ruled the Honda had suffered water damage and awarded vehicle property damages and attorney fees. GEICO filed an appeal.

courthouse_311_jarvis_st-scaledWhen you think about medical malpractice lawsuits, a botched surgery or missed diagnosis are likely the first things that come to mind. The following case involves a less common situation involving purported medical malpractice involving physical therapy post-surgery. It analyzes the relationship between a doctor and a physical therapist and whether a doctor can be vicariously liable for the actions of a physical therapist.

Jean McKeogh underwent a total shoulder arthroplasty, which Dr. Michael O’Brien performed. Following the surgery, Dr. O’Brien saw McKeogh for office visits at a Tulane University clinic. Part of McKeogh’s follow-up care involved physical therapy, which was located in the same building as Dr. O’Brien’s offices. McKeogh went to physical therapy but subsequently told Dr. O’Brien she thought she had been injured during it. A CT scan showed she had fractured her elbow. McKeough then had a frozen shoulder and had to have a second surgery. 

As a result of the injury and alleged negligence, McKeough requested a medical review panel. In her complaint, she claimed Dr. O’Brien had not used reasonable care with respect to his post-surgery care for her, including with respect to the physical therapy he prescribed. The medical review panel determined Robin Silverman, the physical therapist, had not satisfied the applicable standard of care. However, the medical review panel found there was no evidence to support a finding that Dr. Brien and Tulane had not met the applicable standard of care. 

ladder_art_red_garden-scaledIt can be challenging to interpret insurance policies, especially when they involve complex provisions such as coverage for an additional insured. Before signing an insurance policy, it is imperative to understand its language and what it does and does not cover. Here, the plain language of the insurance policy proved instrumental in the appellate court’s ruling.

Pamela Sloane was injured while working for Integrity Cleaning Services (“Integrity”) at Forestwood Apartments. She was cleaning a ceiling fan while standing on a ladder. She inadvertently touched an exposed wire, which electrocuted her, and she fell from the ladder. Sloane filed a lawsuit against CLK Multifamily Management (“CLK”) and others. Sloane claimed CLK had not adequately maintained the premises or warned of the dangerous condition of the exposed wire. CLK filed its answer to the lawsuit, denying the allegations, and added Travelers Indemnity (“Travelers”) to the lawsuit.  CLK claimed Integrity was contractually required to have a general liability insurance policy that covered CLK as additional insureds. 

Travelers filed a summary judgment motion, claiming CLK was not an additional insured under the policy. Travelers attached a copy of the relevant insurance policy to its summary judgment motion. CLK disagreed and claimed it was indeed an additional insured.  The trial court concluded CLK was not qualified as an additional insured and granted Travelers’ summary judgment motion. 

trampoline_sports_equipment_sport_1-scaledSometimes, those delightful recreational activities we all enjoy carry an inherent risk. Often, we assume the risk of those injuries when we engage in that potentially reckless conduct. Knowing your legal options following these injuries is necessary, mainly because recovering for these somewhat ordinary injuries can be difficult. What does it look like when a party cannot recover for a recreational injury–here, an injury from a trampoline park visit?

Kurt and Tabitha Perkins visited a Shreveport indoor trampoline park, Air U. Kurt was injured while at Air U, and he was relatively young, had no known or apparent medical issues before the injury, and had done some time with the U.S. Marine Corps. The Perkinses filed a lawsuit against Air U and other parties, namely insurance companies and Air U’s unidentified employees. 

Kurt stated in a deposition that he did not know why his left knee gave out when jumping on the trampoline, as he had no other injuries or treatment to his left leg. The other patrons at the trampoline park, mostly young kids, had no trouble jumping on the trampoline. Kurt and Tabitha stated that they did not notice any defects on the trampoline and that Kurt jumped normally when he was hurt. Tabitha also said that an Air U employee did not call an ambulance because he was not a manager. 

nebraska_state_capitol_s_4Picture this: you’re enjoying your daily dose of local news when your name surfaces amidst a hailstorm of defamatory allegations. Your reputation takes a blow, and you decide to fight back by filing a lawsuit. This might sound like a gripping storyline from a TV courtroom drama, but for Mary R, this was a harsh reality. Today we’ll delve into her case, a fascinating battle highlighting the intriguing intersections between public figures, free speech, and defamation law.

The otherwise bustling city of Baton Rouge, home to the Louisiana State University Tigers and famed for its vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations, became the backdrop of a less joyous event. It was here that Mary R found herself at the center of a legal maelstrom against John L and the consolidated governing body of the city itself. Mary R’s contention? She claimed that John L had cast aspersions on her, uttering false statements that tarnished her good name, while the city officials who could have reined in these allegations simply looked the other way. The case thus began, a small David standing against a massive municipal Goliath.”

Mrs. R had filed a lawsuit, claiming John L had made false and defamatory statements about her, while the members of the City Parish who could have prevented such defamation failed to do so. The defendants filed a special motion to strike, and the trial court dismissed Mary R’s claims with prejudice in July 2015.

wheelchair_pattern_black_background_44-scaledWhen an injury related to a product occurs, assigning fault can involve multiple parties. In personal injury litigation, crucial legal questions arise regarding whom the plaintiff can seek compensation from, if anyone, and the underlying theory of liability. The following case offers a valuable exploration of common liability theories often encountered in product-related injury cases.

During their stay at a PNK Lake Charles, L.L.C. casino hotel (from now on “PNK”) in July 2015, Anthony Luna, who had limited mobility due to a recent knee surgery, was provided a wheelchair by a PNK employee. While being pushed to their hotel room by one of his children, the wheelchair suddenly stopped, jamming Luna’s foot. Luna inspected the wheelchair but found nothing amiss. However, during another ride, the wheelchair abruptly stopped again, breaking the front left wheel in half and collapsing.

Anthony and Dana Luna and their minor children filed a lawsuit against PNK, alleging negligence and seeking damages under La. C.C.P. art 2315 and La. C.C.P. art 2317. They claimed that PNK’s negligence in providing a defective wheelchair caused injuries to Luna, hindering his recovery following knee surgery.

united_states_capitol_politics_1-scaledPersonal attacks often take center stage in the tumultuous arena of modern political campaigns, leaving no stone unturned and no reputation untouched. Yet, amidst this well-trodden path of character assaults, a unique legal battle emerges, where the crosshairs were not directed at a political rival but rather a candidate’s ex-spouse. In a case that blurs the lines between public discourse and private matters, the spotlight falls on the intersection of defamation claims and the exercise of free speech. Can a campaign ad’s accusations against an ex-spouse be enough to launch a successful legal battle?

Nicholas Schittone filed a lawsuit against Brooke Stoma, Candyce Perret, and Perret for Judge Campaign, LLC for defamation related to a commercial advertisement that ran on television and radio related to Perret’s candidacy in an election for an open judgeship position on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana. Schittone claimed the advertisements included defamatory statements that accused him of being abusive to his child and ex-wife, Stoma. He admitted his name was not used in the advertisement but claimed the content made it obvious to those who knew him that the accusations related to him. 

The defendants filed a special motion to strike under La. C.C.P. art. 971 and claimed Schittone’s lawsuit should be dismissed because he could not meet his burden that he was likely to succeed in his claim on the merits. The trial court denied the defendant’s special motion to strike, finding Schittone was not running for office, so the issues in the campaign were not of public interest or concern, so the commercial did not relate to their exercise of free speech. The trial court also awarded Schittone attorneys’ fees. The defendants filed an appeal.

sydney_prison_offshore_prison-scaledImagine the hardships of being denied basic necessities solely because of a disability. In such cases, how can individuals with disabilities navigate the legal system to seek justice and equal treatment? These questions gain significant relevance when we examine recent allegations of denied accommodations and rights violations. This situation sheds light on the challenges confronted by individuals with disabilities and raises important considerations regarding the responsibility of institutions to provide reasonable accommodations. The pursuit of justice and equal rights is a fundamental principle in any democratic society, yet there are instances where individuals encounter substantial obstacles, particularly in cases involving accessibility rights.

Sherman Mealy, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair, faced significant difficulties while in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. After his release, he filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux III, the City, and Parish. Mealy alleged that he was denied wheelchair-accessible showers and had to rely on other inmates for assistance. He also claimed that he was denied crucial medical supplies, resulting in physical injury, property damage, and emotional distress.

Mealy’s lawsuit was based on violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 aim to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. These laws ensure equal access to public services, prohibit disability-based discrimination and enable individuals to seek remedies for rights violations. Mealy argued that the defendants failed to provide reasonable accommodations for his disability. Denying him wheelchair-accessible showers and essential medical supplies worsened the challenges he faced during his incarceration. 

fire_house_burns_cemetery-scaledMistakes are inevitable in human experiences, but some mistakes can have significant legal consequences. Just like regular folks, courts are infallible and make mistakes as well. What happens when a court fails to include all required information in a judgment? Such a failure creates confusion and can impede the appeals process and delay justice for the parties involved, as seen in the following case.

Unfortunately, a house fire occurred at the home where Thomas Bayer and Laura Kelley resided. The fire resulted from a gas explosion that occurred while employees of Cimarron Underground were working on a gas meter on the property. They cut a gas line, resulting in a fire. As a result of the fire, Bayer and Kelly had to vacate their property for several weeks while the house underwent repairs. 

Bayer and Kelly filed a lawsuit against Cimarron Underground, their insurance company Starr Indemnity & Liability, and others, claiming the defendant’s negligence caused the fire and resulting injuries and inconvenience. Cimarron Underground filed a summary judgment motion. The trial court held a hearing, where it orally granted Cimarron Underground’s summary judgment motion. 

news_stock_newspaper_glasses-scaledIn the realm of insurance coverage disputes, a recent case has brought attention to the application of policy exclusions and their impact on the availability of coverage. Daphne Richardson Valteau took legal action after her father had been stabbed to death on premises owned by The Terraces Limited Partnership (“The Terraces”). The Terraces was managed by Latter & Blum Property Management, Inc. (“Latter & Blum”), while another company, Patriot Protection Agency, Inc. (“Patriot”), had been handling the security services for The Terraces.

Patriot’s liability insurance was through First Mercury Insurance Company (“First Mercury”), First Mercury moved for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of Valteau’s claims. First Mercury argued that the exclusions provided in Patriot’s insurance policy regarding intentional and criminal acts were valid and enforceable. After its motion was denied, First Mercury appealed, petitioning for a writ of certiorari from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.

After reviewing the contractual language of Patriot’s insurance policy with First Mercury, specifically the “Exclusion of Specific Work” provision, the Appeals Court identified various issues that need to be addressed before summary judgment could be ruled on, as well as a major distinction from precedent Louisiana case law. The Court distinguished this case based on how the exclusionary language essentially provided no coverage to Patriot if the incident occurred on a property “established for the purpose of providing subsidized housing….” 

Contact Information