TWPD’s Baton Rouge office succeeded in having a suit against a Louisiana school board dismissed on summary judgment. The plaintiffs alleged the school board was vicariously liable for a teacher’s secretive, bizarre, and inappropriate communications and interactions with a minor student. We presented undisputed evidence that the school board’s pre-employment background check on the teacher revealed no prior criminal history or complaints. It was further undisputed that the student’s mother never reported the communications to the school board nor did she report the teacher visiting with the minor student after school hours, which occurred with the mother’s permission. With this evidence, TWPD convinced the court that plaintiffs could not prove the school board breached its duty of reasonable supervision or that the teacher’s intentional acts occurred in the course and scope of his employment. Therefore, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the School Board, dismissing the suit in its entirety.
The firm’s Baton Rouge attorneys recently won a Motion for Summary Judgment that resulted in the complete dismissal of a plaintiff’s suit against a national hardware and home improvement store. The plaintiff alleged he slipped and fell in a puddle of water that was near the store’s entrance. He allegedly did not see the water before his fall, and he could not say how long the water had been on the ground. TWPD obtained sworn affidavits from store employees, testifying they did not see any water on the ground prior to the subject accident. We argued the plaintiff could not meet his burden of proof under the Louisiana Merchant Liability Act, because he could not establish the defendant store created the complained-of condition, had actual notice of the water on the ground, or the water had been on the ground for a period of time sufficient to establish the store should have known it was there. The federal court was persuaded by these arguments, and granted summary judgment in favor of our client, resulting in dismissal of the case with prejudice.
TWPD’s Mississippi office recently secured a favorable summary judgment in a premise liability matter. Our client was a retail home improvement and hardware store.The plaintiff was in the store shopping for paint, and tripped and fell on a large blue lowboy cart that was in the aisle. The cart was one of several used by employees for restocking shelves. During discovery, the plaintiff admitted he observed the cart while speaking to a store employee. As he walked away from the conversation, he backed into the cart, tripped and fell.
TWPD argued the lowboy cart was not an unreasonably dangerous condition and thus the plaintiff could not meet his burden in proving the store was negligent. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi agreed with this position, reasoning that lowboy carts were the type of objects customers should reasonably expect to encounter in a similar retail business.As a result, the Court granted summary judgment, dismissing the case against our client with prejudice.
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.
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.
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.
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:
David Ball and Don Keenan’s website boasts $7.7 billion in “Reptile Verdicts and Settlements” since the publishing of their book, Reptile: the 2009 Manual of the Plaintiff’s Revolution. The manual touts research and methods to exploit a jury’s most primitive instincts of safety and self-preservation to maximize injury verdicts. The strategy is to engender a certain fear in jurors,such that the response is a desire to attack the defendant, rather than the desire to assess the true cause of an accident and the fair value of plaintiff’s damages. Especially in cases in which large companies are made defendants because they employed the person who allegedly caused the accident,the strategy is to paint the company as bad actor, one that places profits over the safety of the jury’s community, who should be punished.
A common Reptilian approach in Louisiana is an attempt to show that a company was negligent in its hiring, training,and supervision of its employees. To support these allegations, plaintiffs will conduct costly and extensive discovery into a company’s internal policies and safety procedures. Even if some deficiencies could be found on those issues, in most cases it will have no relation whatsoever to the employee’s conduct in the subject accident. But plaintiffs will nevertheless portray these policies and procedures as insufficient and hazardous,hoping to convinces the jury that an accident was bound to happen, thus justifying punishing the company for conduct wholly unrelated to the facts of the accident at issue.
To combat this approach, defendant companies must show at the earliest stages of the litigation that there is no such viable separate claim against the company for conduct not related to the cause of the accident at issue. Our firm has been successful in this regard. Unless the facts show otherwise, we admit that the allegedly negligent employee was“in the course and scope” of his/her employment when the accident occurred. Thus, our client admits that it will be responsible if in fact the employee’s negligent conduct is found to be the cause of the accident. We then move to dismiss any separate negligence claims against the company, so that the employee’s conduct is the only conduct for the jury to address. Getting these separate claims dismissed not only circumvents a plaintiff’s ability to paint the employer as a “bad, dangerous company,” but also narrows the scope of discovery and evidence that may be admitted at trial.
Let us put these defensive tactics to work for your company.
Our firm’s Baton Rouge attorneys recently convinced the Louisiana Supreme Court to dismiss a personal injury suit against our client. The plaintiff in this automobile accident case filed suit in Louisiana almost two years after the accident. The statute of limitations in Louisiana is one year. Thus, TWPD immediately sought dismissal of the suit on the grounds that it was filed too late. However, because the accident at issue occurred in Texas rendering Texas’ substantive law applicable to the case, the plaintiff argued that Texas’ two-year statute of limitations also applied. The trial court and court of appeals agreed with the plaintiff and held that the suit was timely filed. TWPD took the case to the Supreme Court and won. The Supreme Court agreed with TWPD’s position that Louisiana’s one-year statute of limitation was controlling, and dismissed the suit.
When used properly, the Form 1010A can ensure doctors are providing all necessary information and complying with the MTG.
If you have any questions about how to calculate judicial interest, please give us a call.
Using SIF Questionnaires can be a pivotal part of the employment and workers’ compensation process. Call us with any questions.
Second Injury Fund, when pursued properly, can help offset costs of expensive claims involving workers with pre-existing conditions and also serve as the basis of a 1208.1 fraud claim.
These guidelines contained some marked changes in the area of pain management.
Our lawyers frequently present seminars before risk and management teams for insurance companies and other corporations across the country on a variety of legal topics. These seminars are regularly approved for CE/CLE credits by several states. Here is a list of our most recent seminars:
AZ, GA, TX, NH, CT, FL
LA, TX, OH
LA, TX, NC
LA, TX, NC, DE, FL
LA, TX, NC
LA, TX, MS
LA, TX, MS
AZ, GA, NH, NJ, LA, TX, CT, PA
LA, TX, NC
LA, TX, CT, NC