Articles Posted in Negligence Claims

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. 

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. 

prison_fence_razor_ribbon_0-scaledFiling a claim in court requires careful consideration of the appropriate time frame, as it can significantly impact the success of a lawsuit. This is particularly crucial when dealing with actions such as false arrest and false imprisonment, where prescription periods play a significant role. 

In a noteworthy case involving Marlon Eaglin, Powell, Deontrey Moten, and David Little, who were charged with attempted murder, the defendants’ release led to the filing of a petition for false arrest and false imprisonment. However, the defendants raised an exception of prescription, arguing that the claims had exceeded the prescribed time limit. This case is a stark reminder of the importance of understanding and adhering to the applicable time frame when seeking justice in court.

An attempted murder charge was brought against Marlon Eaglin, Powell, Deontrey Moten, and David Little by the Eunice Police Department. The defendants were arrested on May 4, 2015, and released on August 21, 2015. 

bookcase_law_firm_attorney_1-scaledIn some cases, mistakes in following procedure can harm a plaintiff’s cause of action even if the case otherwise may be successful on the merits. For example, legal malpractice cases in Louisiana must be filed within one year from when the plaintiff knew or should have known that malpractice had occurred. A recent case out of the Parish of East Baton Rouge has outlined when a plaintiff is considered to have some notice of legal malpractice. 

Satterfield & Pontikes (S&P) was a general contractor for the construction of the Lawrence D. Crocker Elementary School in New Orleans, known as the Croker project. The Recovery School District (RSD) owned the property, and Jacobs Project Management Company/CSRS Consortium (Jacobs) acted as the project manager. Norman Chenevert and Chenevert Architects, LLC (Chenevert) and Julien Engineering & Consulting, Inc. (Julien), the sub-consultant structural engineers, created the plans and specifications for the project. In addition, S&P met with Murphy J. Foster, III, a partner at the Breazeale Sachse & Wilson (BSW) law firm, to represent them regarding a previous project S&P worked as a general contractor for. One of the other BSW partners, Steven Loeb, has represented Chenevert previously and had been representing them in connection with the Crocker Project. 

Professional ethics rules required BSW to advise S&P and Chenevert on the potential for conflict and to receive a written waiver from both clients. The Chief Financial Officer of S&P, Laura Pontikes, signed the waiver. In contrast, Chenevert terminated its client-lawyer relationship with Leob, and its file regarding the Crocker Project was returned to the company. 

project_366_138_170512-scaledAlthough you may be excited if you are awarded damages at trial, your award might still face a challenge on appeal. Therefore, when you are involved in a trial for an accident in which you were harmed, it is important to understand what evidence you need to present so that any money you are awarded can survive a challenge on appeal. 

While driving a Honda Accord in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, Juliet All was hit by a Chevrolet Silverado Austin Tynes was driving after he did not stop at a stop sign. As a result, All’s vehicle was knocked into a ditch. All received medical treatment at St. Elizabeth Hospital and was diagnosed with chest pain and neck strain. When her pain did not go away, she went to an orthopedic surgeon for treatment, who diagnosed her with whiplash and cervical spine injury, including injury to her soft tissue. 

All filed a lawsuit against Tynes and Safeco Insurance Company, who insured him. The parties agreed that Tynes was solely responsible for the accident and had insurance coverage from Safeco when the accident occurred. They also stipulated that All’s damages would not exceed $50,000. At trial, All was awarded $66,000 in damages. This was reduced to $50,000 because of the parties’ stipulation. Safeco and Tynes appealed, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding All $50,000 in general damages because her injuries were minimal and of short duration. 

accident_mini_morris_red-scaledSimple driving accidents happen every day due to lapses in inattention. The results of these lapses can have devastating consequences. Whose is at fault in an accident when both parties were less than perfect in assessments of dangers on the road? The subsequent lawsuit from Louisiana shows how a court will determine how much fault each party bears for an accident and adjust damages based on that outcome.

In 2014, Stephan August was out making a delivery for Domino’s Pizza in his own 2010 Toyota Corolla. He was heading West on Louisiana Highway 1040 in Tangipahoa Parish when Lee Kebreanne drove behind him in her 2001 Toyota Camry. According to  Lee, August was varying his speed, giving her the impression that he did not know where he was going. As a result, Lee decided to pass him in the eastbound lane. Unfortunately, as she was in the eastbound lane, August also pulled into the eastbound, and the two drivers collided.  Lee’s car flipped three times and ultimately landed upside down, and August hit his head on the driver’s side door. 

August filed a lawsuit against Lee and her insurance companies, GoAuto and Progressive. A trial occurred where the District Court determined that Lee was 100% at fault and awarded August a total of $14,389.05 in damages. Lee appealed the decision citing that the court was wrong about her fault being 100% and that $12,500 in general damages were excessive.  

farm_mountain_farm_meadow-scaledAn employee injured at work while performing the functions of her job is generally entitled to worker’s compensation. But what about a worker injured on the job by the intentional act of a fellow employee? An action for recovery due to employer negligence could be a better option.

Louisiana worker’s compensation law does not provide coverage for employees injured during an incident unrelated to their workplace activities, for example, an altercation between co-workers arising out of personal issues. R.S. 23:1031E

Instead, an employer may be liable for negligence if it had reason to believe its employee(s) could be attacked at work but failed to intervene. Posecai v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.. Courts will consider whether the employer had information suggesting an incident might occur and, if so, when it was received and what level of detail was available to help determine the appropriate response. See Carr.

courthouse_court_law_justice_0-1-scaledAllocating damages in a wrongful death case is challenging because putting a price on a life is hard. Therefore, if a family in a wrongful death case feels the jury abused its discretion in calculating that monetary value, then the family can resort to a motion for JNOV to try and correct the decision. However, this is a rigorous standard, and a recent case out of Baton Rouge outlines how a court reviews these motions. 

Noha Salama was visiting family in Louisiana from her home in Israel. Her nephew picked her up from the airport in New Orleans, and the two drove down Interstate 10 toward Baton Rouge. The nephew exited the highway at Louisiana Highway 44/Burnside Drive in Gonzales and stopped at the stop sign at the end of the exit ramp. In an attempt to re-enter the interstate, the nephew drove the vehicle across the four-lane highway and failed to stop at the median, which divided the north and southbound lanes. Once the vehicle crossed over the median, it was broadsided by two cars going south. Salama, who was in the front passenger seat, died at the accident scene. 

Salama’s husband and five children filed a wrongful death action against her nephew, his insurer, the drivers of the two southbound vehicles, their insurers, and the DOTD. The family settled with all of the defendants except for the DOTD, and their case against the DOTD proceeded to a jury trial. The family alleged the DOTD, which had control over the intersection, was at fault for the accident for treating the Highway 44 exit and entrance ramps as a single intersection rather than two separate intersections. 

vcc_broadway_hi_res-scaledYou think that when you’re being taken care of by hospital personnel, you are in safe hands and do not have to fear for your safety. However, if you are injured when being moved from a hospital cart to your bed, can you claim negligence based on res ipsa loquitur? The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals addresses this question and the difficulties in recovering damages if you have an underlying preexisting condition.

Joshua Rice was a patient at Cornerstone Hospital for over a year before passing away in May 2012. Joshua’s father, Tommy Rice, brought a negligence suit against Cornerstone, claiming the staff entangled Joshua’s leg and arm when they moved him from a hospital cart to his bed. He suffered a fracture in his hip and shoulder as a result.

Believing they were not liable for Rice’s injuries, Cornerstone filed a motion for summary judgment. Under Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court should grant summary judgment when there is no genuine dispute of any material fact. If a plaintiff such as Rice cannot prove his case at trial, then a court will dismiss it.

courthouse_court_law_justice_0-scaledLosing a loved one is hard enough. What happens, however, when multiple people claim they have a right to the same property the decedent owns at the time of their death? Cases involving multiple parties and claimants can get tricky, especially when one claimant was the decedent’s spouse and the other was their descendant, as was the case in the following lawsuit. 

After being killed in an accident in New Orleans, Tommie Varnado’s widow, Patricia Varnado, filed a wrongful death and survival action lawsuit against the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD). Although Patricia agreed to settle with DOTD, she died before the trial court signed a consent judgment memorizing the settlement. The trial court then signed a consent judgment ten days after Patricia’s death. Months later, Kenneth John Gaunichaux filed a motion to substitute himself as the plaintiff in place of Patricia, alleging the two were married at the time of her death and that he was entitled to recover the settlement proceeds. The trial court permitted the substitution, although, before the settlement distribution, the DOTD questioned the validity of the consent judgment, as it was signed after Patricia’s death. 

Melvin J. Owens Jr. then filed a motion to vacate and set aside Kenneth’s motion for party substitution, instead alleging he should be substituted as the plaintiff in place of Patricia. In his motion to substitute party plaintiff, Melvin argued he was the sole heir of Patricia and was the proper party to represent her and to receive the damage award.

Contact Information