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- November 2016 – TWPD obtained summary judgment in Federal Court dismissing independent negligence claims against motor coach carrier where it was undisputed that employee was in the course and scope of employment. In granting summary judgment, the court accepted arguments raised by TWPD to create a bright line rule that regards when an independent negligence claim against an employer is viable and when it is not. The decision represents a landmark victory for businesses in Louisiana where plaintiffs are increasingly asserting independent negligence claims against companies in an effort to garner higher damage awards. This decision significantly limits the scenarios where the plaintiffs can assert such claims. See Dennis v. Collins, 15-cv-2410 (W.D. La. 11/9/16); 2016 WL 6637937.
- Jen O’Connell, an associate in TWPD’s Baton Rouge office, was recognized by the Baton Rouge Bar Association in the Member Spotlight which also noted her volunteer contributions to the Baton Rouge community.
- TWPD welcomes Terri M. Collins to the firm. Terri joins TWPD’s Baton Rouge office with a practice focused on worker’s compensation law.
- TWPD successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of a commercial driver. The plaintiff filed suit alleging that the commercial driver was speeding and changed lanes in an intersection. The court granted summary judgment to the commercial driver finding the plaintiff at fault for failing to yield the right of way when exiting a private parking lot.
- TWPD welcomes Matt Moghis to the firm. Matt joins TWPD’s New Orleans office with a practice focused on casualty litigation defense.
- Louisiana Workers' Comp Update: The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal sitting in Baton Rouge recently held that prescription medication is not governed by the Medical Treatment Guidelines.
- The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld the restrictive venue provision of the Louisiana Direct Action Statute. TWPD represented an insurer and successfully obtained a ruling that the limited venue provisions of the Direct Action Statute apply to claims against insurers, as opposed to the broader venue provisions of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure. The Fourth Circuit further held that the 1989 amendment to the venue provision of the Direct Action Statute was a procedural and interpretive change that applies to suits filed after the effective date of the amendment, even if the cause of action accrued prior to the amendment. Blow v. OneBeacon America Ins. Co., No. 2016-301 (La. App. 4 Cir. 4/20/2016).
- TWPD’s Mississippi office has moved. The new address is 100 Webster Circle, Suite 104, Madison, Mississippi 39110. The phone number is 769-300-2988. The facsimile number is 769-300-2145.
- TWPD successfully obtained summary dismissal of a claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UM”) coverage filed at the 18th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Point Coupee, Louisiana. Plaintiff appealed the summary judgment ruling to the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking a reversal based on statutory interpretation of Louisiana’s UM statute. Plaintiff argued the insured’s rejection of UM coverage from a previous year did not remain valid on renewal, because the renewal was written to additional named insureds. TWPD distinguished plaintiff’s legal arguments and submitted deposition testimony to demonstrate the insured’s clear intent and desire to reject UM coverage in compliance with Louisiana law. As such, the First Circuit affirmed the summary dismissal. Loudermilk v. Nat'l Gen. Assurance Co., 2014-1692 (La. App. 1 Cir. 12/23/15), 2015 WL 9435839.
- TWPD secured the dismissal of a truck-driver’s claim for benefits under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act. The claim proceeded to a compensability hearing and we argued that the claimant was not entitled to benefits because he was an independent contractor and that, regardless of the claimant’s status, he was not entitled to benefits because he had elected coverage under a private Occupational Accident Policy. The Administrative Judge ruled that both theories argued by TWPD were independently sufficient grounds for dismissal.
- Jill Miller and Jennifer O’Connell were invited to be new members of the Wex Malone American Inn of Court.
- The Louisiana Supreme Court adopted a bright-line rule, holding that the collateral source doctrine does not apply to attorney-negotiated medical discounts obtained though the litigation process. In reaching this conclusion, the Court noted that "allowing the plaintiff to recover an amount for which he has not paid, and for which he has no obligation to pay, is at cross purposes with the basic principles of tort recovery in our Civil Code." This reasoning may open the door for defendants to argue that the collateral source rule does not apply to any discounted medical expenses. Indeed, in reaching their decision, the Court cited to a California opinion which held that the collateral source rule does not apply to discounted medical bills.
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st Century North American Ins. Co.
- Scott Rainwater, Jason Bone, and Jon Womack named to 2016 Super Lawyers Rising Stars list.
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