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In the News

Firms Secures Dismissal at 19th JDC

The Firm secured summary judgment in the 19th JDC involving a slip and fall. The plaintiff alleged to have slipped in greasy oil in our client’s parking lot. Plaintiff relied on photographs of the parking lot showing multiple stained areas and argued that, had our client properly inspected their grounds, they would have seen the greasy oil spot.  Surveillance footage showed Plaintiff slipped over a dark colored area, but he was also attempting to pivot back at the time to hold open the door for another customer. The Judge granted summary judgment, dismissing suit, on the grounds that the plaintiff could not establish our client had actual or constructive notice or that the dark stained area contained greasy oil that caused him to fall. 

 

Louisiana Supreme Court allows claims of various liability and direct negligence against employers

The Louisiana Supreme Court, in Martin v. Greer Logging, et al., finally resolved the disputed issue of whether a plaintiff can simultaneously maintain claims of negligence against an employee for which an employer is vicariously liable and claims of direct negligence against an employer for negligent hiring, retention, training etc. In ruling plaintiffs can maintain these separate causes of actions, the Court examined the Louisiana Civil Code and basic tort law grounded in the premise that all potential tortfeasors can be assigned fault. In cases of disputed liability, the jury can attribute a percentage of fault to the plaintiff, a percentage of fault to an employee/tortfeasor for which the employer is vicariously liable AND an additional percentage of fault against the employer if the evidence shows that the employer’s negligent hiring, training or retention of an employee contributed to the cause of an accident. In the short term, we expect to see an influx of discovery against defendants into an employer’s internal policies and procedures as plaintiffs pursue these separate claims. In cases wherein the defendant stipulates to 100% fault, an employer’s internal policies and procedures should remain irrelevant.

Louisiana Supreme Court invalidates UM rejection in favor of employee

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently invalidated an employer’s UM coverage rejection in favor of an injured employee in Harvard v Ricky Jeanlouis. The opinion stresses the importance of ensuring all proper procedures are followed when executing these UM rejection forms. In Harvard, the corporate representative verbally authorized his administrative assistant to stamp his signature onto the rejection form and sign his initials. The Court held that in cases where a corporate representative directs a subordinate to execute a UM waiver form in the corporate representative’s capacity, then the corporate representative must confer that authority in writing.

 

Firm Secures Relief From Supreme Court

TWPD’s New Orleans office secured dismissal of a suit at the Louisiana Supreme Court in Rhonda Lacour, et al v. Phillis M. Sino, et al, No. 2021-CC-00953. An elderly man drive his vehicle into a commercial building, injuring the plaintiffs inside. The plaintiffs sued the property owner and lessee of the building, claiming bollards should have been erected in front of the building to prevent this incident. Lessee, represented by TWPD, moved for summary judgment asserting:(1) it was a lessee of the premises and it had no custody or control over the building’s exterior, sidewalk, or parking lot pursuant to its lease agreement with the owner of the strip mall; and (2) in the alternative, it was not liable because the accident was not reasonably foreseeable. After a hearing, the 3JDC denied the motion for summary judgment. On de novo review, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and granted summary judgment in favor of the lessee. The judgment recognized that the duty of reasonable care requires store owners to protect against the probability of injuries foreseeable in law, which has been defined as “those risks that are probable and foreseeable, not those risks which are merely foreseeable in fact as possible.”

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.