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SERVING ALL OF LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI

In the News

Mississippi attorneys secure summary dismissal in favor of car dealership

TWPD’s Mississippi attorneys won summary judgment for a BMW dealership in a case alleging negligent repairs and service. After the owner had put more than 430 miles on the vehicle after the repair shop’s service, the car’s engine “jumped time.” The affidavit of a BMW master technician established that there was no fault code, audible noise, or any visual inspection that indicated any issue with the timing components when the car was in the repair shop.  The Lauderdale County Court found a lack of evidence to establish that the repair shop had breached any duty or that there was any causal connection between the work the repair shop performed and the timing component failure that occurred weeks later.  TWPD’s attorneys identified the causation issue early in the litigation and pursued summary judgment even before discovery got underway, minimizing the litigation expenses and ending the risk of exposure for the client.

Mississippi attorneys recover attorney fees after prevailing in surety matter

TWPD’s Mississippi attorneys obtained an award of attorney’s fees and expenses totaling $136,000.00 in a Mississippi federal court suit to enforce an indemnity agreement in a surety bond case. The attorney’s fee award followed a successful recovery of $536,907.00 for the client under the surety contract.

TWPD secured dismissal of Louisiana premises liability suit

The firm’s Baton Rouge attorneys secured summary dismissal of a plaintiff’s premise liability suit filed in Lafayette, Louisiana. The defendant was a local supermarket. Plaintiff tripped over a piece of plastic that the supermarket used to display its price tags.  The Judge agreed that plaintiff did not present any evidence that the supermarket caused the plastic piece to fall or how long the plastic piece had been on the ground before plaintiff tripped on it.  The Judge also believed the plastic piece was “open and obvious” to all because it was approximately 3 – 3 ½ feet long, had multiple price tags stuck onto it, and because plaintiff had walked up and down the aisle on several occasions before he tripped on it. 

Louisiana Tort Reform Bill Signed into Law

After a lengthy negotiation process, the Louisiana Legislature passed a new tort reform bill on June 30, 2020.   Governor Edwards then signed House Bill 57, the Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020 into law. Although the bill’s proponents did not get all the reform measures initially proposed, supporters believe it is a step in the right direction for trying to lower Louisiana’s high insurance rates. The bill:

  • Reduces  the jury threshold from $50,000 to $10,000. It requires the party requesting trial by jury to timely post a cash bond within 60 days of requesting a jury trial. To be entitled to a bench trial, a plaintiff must stipulate or otherwise judicially admit their cause of action does not exceed $10,000 exclusive of interest and costs;
  • Limits recovery of medical expenses to the amount paid, instead of the amount billed. However, the bill gives some discretion to judges to adjust the     award under certain circumstances;
  • Repeals the seat belt gag order, thus allowing jurors to hear whether a plaintiff was wearing a seat belt at the time of a collision; and
  • Forbids the existence of insurance coverage from being communicated to the jury unless one of the following applies: 1) there is a factual dispute related to coverage that the jury will decide; 2) the existence of coverage would be admissible to attack the credibility of a witness; or 3) there is a cause of action brought against the insurer pursuant to La. R.S. 22:1973 or Section 1269(B)(1)(a) through (f);
  • Precludes the identity of the insurer from being communicated to the jury unless the identity would be admissible to attack the credibility of a witness; and
  • The new provisions will apply to all causes of action arising on or after January 1, 2021.

 

       

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