Archive | December, 2004

Johnson v. Marrero-Estelle VFD

Johnson v. Marrero-Estelle VFD
(May 2004)

In May 2004, in Johnson v. Marrero-Estelle VFD, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted McCranie Sistrunk Attorneys’ writ and reversed the trial court’s decision regarding the interpretation and application of La. R.S. 33:1995 concerning statutory sick leave provisions to an employee of a volunteer fire company.

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Donohue v. Francis Services

Donohue v. Francis Services
(May 2004)

In May 2004, the Eastern District Court granted McCranie Sistrunk Attorneys’ Motion to Certify a Collective Action under the Fair Labor Standards Act in Donohue v. Francis Services.

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Cook v. Jefferson Parish Hospital Service

Cook v. Jefferson Parish Hospital Service
(May 2004)

Thomas Anzelmo won an appeal at the 5th Circuit in favor of East Jefferson General Hospital in Cook v. Jefferson Parish Hospital Service. East Jefferson argued a plaintiff should not be able to recover the portion of medical expenses written off by a hospital pursuant to Medicare under the collateral source rule. The 5th Circuit acknowledged a previous ruling by the 2nd Circuit which held “a plaintiff may not recover as damages that portion of medical expenses ‘contractually adjusted’ or ‘written off’ by a healthcare provider pursuant to the requirements of the Medicaid program.” The court further held that “[b]ecause the portion of medical expenses that are “written off” by a healthcare provider are not damages incurred by the injured plaintiff, they are not subject to recovery by application of the collateral source rule.” The 5th Circuit concurred with the decision of the 2nd Circuit and held “…that the trial court erred in awarding that portion of medical expenses which were ‘contractually adjusted’ or ‘written off’ by East Jefferson pursuant to Medicare.”

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Jiles v. U-Haul

Jiles v. U-Haul
(April 2004)

Michael Sistrunk won a victory in favor of U-Haul in the case entitled Jiles v. U-Haul in the 21st Judicial District Court for the Parish of Tangipahoa. One plaintiff claimed two years of treatment as a result of this accident and the other plaintiff claimed 6 months of treatment as a result of the same accident. U-Haul maintained both claims were fraudulent. After a trial on the merits, the judge awarded the plaintiffs $500 and the cost of their ambulance ride.

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James Lee v. Ford Motor Company

James Lee v. Ford Motor Company
(April 2004)

McCranie Sistrunk Attorneys won a victory in favor of Ford Motor Company in the case entitled James Lee v. Ford Motor Company in Judge Buckley’s court in St. Bernard Parish. The plaintiff was a brain damaged quadriplegic. A $6.5 million dollar verdict was returned by the jury after a 3 week trial and Ford was found to be completely without liability.

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Lathers v. U-Haul

Lathers v. U-Haul
(April 2004)

McCranie Sistrunk Attorneys won an important victory in favor of U-Haul in the case entitled Lathers v. U-Haul before Judge Robert Murphy in the 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish in September 2003. The plaintiff stored his property at a U-Haul storage center. He completed a rental agreement and purchased insurance. The plaintiff allegedly later entered the space to find $14,000 worth of property missing. U-Haul filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and the trial court dismissed the suit concluding the terms of the rental agreement were a bar to the suit. Interestingly, neither U-Haul nor the plaintiff possessed a copy of the rental agreement. The court permitted U-Haul to prove the terms and conditions of the contract by an affidavit of the facility manager.

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Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company v. Sharpless

Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company v. Sharpless
(April 2004)

Lauren Welch obtained a favorable opinion from the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in a case involving a number of previously unresolved issues in the Circuit. The Court held that multiple, non-married shareholders can be considered “employees” for purposes of establishing the existence of an ERISA plan. The Court also found that the purchase of multiple individual disability policies at a discounted rate by physicians in a professional medical corporation, when considered with other circumstances, was sufficient to establish the intent to establish an employee welfare benefit plan subject to ERISA. The Court upheld the trial court’s judgment in favor of Provident rescinding a disability insurance policy based on material misrepresentations contained in the application for the policy. Finally, under a new more restrictive test recently adopted by the United States Supreme Court for determining whether state law claims are preempted by ERISA, the Court found that the Louisiana statute governing misrepresentations in applications, as well as all of the physician’s state law claims asserted in a counterclaim, were preempted by ERISA.

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Rayford Racca v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America

Rayford Racca v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America
(April 2004)

A motion for summary judgment was granted in Unum’s favor in a case handled by Lauren Welch entitled Rayford Racca v. Unum Life in the Western District of Louisiana before Judge Trimble. The disability policy issued by Unum provided that after an insured had been disabled from his own occupation for 24 months, disability benefits would only continue if the insured was unable to perform any occupation for which he was he was reasonably suited based on education, training and experience. Unum identified several alternate gainful occupations that plaintiff could perform and the plaintiff presented no evidence to dispute the existence of these other gainful occupations, thus entitling Unum to summary judgment.

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Mary Siether v. Winnebago

Mary Siether v. Winnebago
(March 2004)

McCranie Sistrunk Attorneys won an appeal in the 4th Circuit, which the Louisiana Supreme Court let stand, in favor of Winnebago in the case entitled Mary Siether v. Winnebago. The case involved an accident with Winnebago causing two deaths and a broken neck in a third person. The appeal set out the most comprehensive analysis of the Louisiana Products Liability Act.

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Trena Weber v. Lockheed Martin

Trena Weber v. Lockheed Martin
(February 2004)

McCranie Sistrunk Attorneys won an Exception of Prescription in favor of Lockheed Martin in the case entitled Trena Weber v. Lockheed Martin in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. The plaintiff fax filed a pleading, but did not pay costs within 5 days, as required by statute. Therefore, the court found Ms. Weber’s claims of sex discrimination and race discrimination were prescribed.

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