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SERVING ALL OF LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI

In the News

The firm proves plaintiff not injured in questionable accident

Lawyers from TWPD’s Baton Rouge office secured a defense verdict in a bench trial in south Louisiana involving a premise liability matter. The plaintiff allegedly injured her hand and arm when she was struck by several falling coolers placed at the top of a freezer. At trial, TWPD challenged both the applicability of the Merchant Liability Statute and the validity of plaintiff’s alleged injuries. First, the court found the Merchant Liability Statute did not apply because the plaintiff did not actually fall to the ground. Instead, general negligence would be analyzed. Second, the judge concluded that TWPD had successfully shown the plaintiff to be a fraud. Cross-examination of the plaintiff revealed clear inconsistencies between her version of events and the store’s surveillance system regarding the severe pain plaintiff claimed she experienced immediately after the incident. The plaintiff’s reports of pain and limitations were also inconsistent throughout trial. The judge concluded there was a clear showing that this plaintiff was malingering and faking.  He added: “Plaintiff tried to bootstrap the incident into a payday” and awarded no damages.

Congrats to Doran Drummond for LSU Law Coaching Award

Congratulations to Doran Drummond for receiving LSU Law Center’s 2021 Advocacy Program Coach of the Year Award! Doran was the co-coach of the LSU Law National Pretrial Competition team, which competed in October 2020. Named in honor of the late Professor Susan C. Kalinka, the award recognizes a coach of one of LSU Law’s moot court, trial advocacy, or dispute resolution external competition teams who embodies the inspiration and dedication of Professor Kalinka. Despite many hardships last year involving COVID and hurricanes, the team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2020 Pretrial Competition: a competition which brings together many of the best trial ad teams from around the country. Doran has been coaching and mentoring students in the trial advocacy and moot court program at LSU since graduating from LSU Law in 2014. 

Firm secures defense verdict in favor of Employer in SEB Dispute

The firm’s Baton Rouge attorneys secured a workers’ compensation verdict in favor of an employer regarding a dispute over entitlement to supplemental earnings benefits(SEB). The employee was a laborer who suffered shoulder and wrist injuries in a work accident. Following surgery and conservative treatment, a functional capacity evaluation released him to medium duty work. The employee advised his doctor his job was medium duty, and the doctor initially released him to “full duty” based on the employee’s own description of his position. Following an objection from his lawyer, the release was modified to reflect “medium duty,” but claimant did not return to the job. A dispute arose as to whether SEB was owed because: 1) the employee and employer disputed the exact physical requirements of the job of injury; and 2) the employee and employer disputed whether the employer was required to specifically offer the position. The issue was whether a release to the job of injury means the accident no longer prevents an employee from earning 90% of his/her pre-injury income?

 

The employee alleged his job of injury required strenuous lifting: despite a 60 year old 90 pound female employee being physically capable of working the position. On behalf of the employer, we argued that because the employee was released to his job of injury and chose not to return to it, he did not carry his burden of proving he was unable to earn 90% of his average weekly wage, and thus the burden never shifted to the Employer. The evidence showed that the job of injury was available and there is nothing in the law indicating an employer must formally re-offer the position.  The SEB statute does not permit a claimant to choose not work and still collect SEB.  The OWC judge entered judgment in favor of our client and the suit was dismissed with prejudice.

Court Grants Summary Judgment Finding Insurance Policy Termination Valid

The firm’s Baton Rouge attorneys secured summary judgment declaring an automobile policy did not provide coverage and was properly and timely terminated under Louisiana law. The plaintiff filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment alleging the insurer was in bad faith for improper termination of the policy. Specifically, the plaintiff asserted the insurer had knowledge the insured was deceased and the fact the plaintiff was serving as the administratrix of the insured’s succession, utilizing the insured’s vehicle. Accordingly, the plaintiff argued the notice of non-renewal of the policy should have been sent to her address, which the insurer should have known based on their dealings with her on an unrelated property insurance claim. TWPD established the insurer properly and timely mailed notice of non-renewal to the deceased insured at the address listed on the automobile policy and had no obligation to notify the plaintiff at a different address. The plaintiff failed to provide the insurer with any succession or administrative paperwork establishing herself as the administratrix until after the automobile accident at issue. The court granted summary judgment finding the termination was valid as a matter of law and dismissed the case with prejudice. 

The success we have seen is because of the way we built our practice. It’s about more than routine strategies. It’s about creative resolutions to difficult legal questions. It’s about how we treat our clients and each other and how we work together to build the best possible defense for every single case. It's practice, made perfect.