Archive | December, 2013

John and Casie Dekerlegand v. John Arton d/b/a/ Chick-fil-A of I-10 at Louisiana Avenue FSU, et al

John and Casie Dekerlegand v. John Arton d/b/a/ Chick-fil-A of I-10 at Louisiana Avenue FSU, et al
(November 2013)

15th Judicial District Court, Lafayette Parish – Peter J. Wanek and Trevor C. Davies defended Chick-fil-A in a premises liability case wherein the plaintiffs claimed employees mopped and failed to post caution wet floor signs.  The plaintiff claimed he suffered a disabling lower back injury which required epidural steroid injection and trigger point injection therapies for the remainder of his life.  Plaintiffs also presented claims for past lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and loss of consortium.  Past medical expenses claimed were approximately $60,000 for nearly five years of treatment including ongoing treatment at the time of trial.  Plaintiffs alleged economic losses and future medical treatment in excess of $1 million dollars.  Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $1.54 million.  Result – Defense verdict.

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Debbie Wallace v. JP Morgan Chase Bank

Debbie Wallace v. JP Morgan Chase Bank
(November 2013)

Devin Fadaol and Lannie Milliman won a victory for JP Morgan Chase Bank in this wrongful arrest lawsuit.  The plaintiff claimed that JP Morgan Chase Bank was negligent in calling the police after a co-defendant informed JP Morgan Chase Bank that the check being presented by plaintiff to open a business account was invalid.  Judge Wilson Fields in Baton Rouge denied the Motion for Summary Judgment, but the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Fields and granted the writ application, dismissing plaintiff’s case against JP Morgan Chase Bank.   The First Circuit held that the plaintiff failed to produce factual support sufficient to establish that they will be able to satisfy their evidentiary burden of proof at trial, and that the bank official’s communications to the police were protected by an conditional privilege or qualified immunity.

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Reynolds v. Nissan

Reynolds v. Nissan
(August 2013)

Keith W. McDaniel and Quincy T. Crochet obtained summary judgment in favor of Nissan North America, Inc., in a lawsuit filed by Richard Reynolds in the 22nd Judicial District Court for the Parish of St. Tammany.  The case arose out of a five car accident which occurred on Louisiana Hwy. 22 in Mandeville, Louisiana, in March 2008.  After initially sideswiping a Honda Accord, the intoxicated operator of a Chevrolet Suburban collided with the rear left side of the plaintiff’s 2003 Infiniti G35.  The impact caused the G35 to collide with another car before coming to a rest off the roadway in a ditch.  Meanwhile, the driver of the Suburban continued and collided with several other vehicles.

Mr. Reynolds, who sustained personal injuries in the accident, later filed suit against his insurance carrier, an automobile auction company, Nissan and the operator of the Suburban.  As against Nissan, Reynolds alleged that his injuries were caused by unspecified defects in the vehicle’s supplemental restraint system.  To support his claim, Reynolds retained an expert, Dr. Claude R. Mount.  However, Nissan successfully moved to exclude Dr. Mount from trial on the basis that Dr. Mount lacks the experience to testify as an expert in supplemental restraint system performance.

Nissan subsequently moved for summary judgment.  Nissan argued that Reynolds lacked expert support for his defect claims.  Further, despite years of litigation Reynolds failed to develop or present any proof of a manufacturing defect, a design defect, a warnings defect or a warranty defect pursuant to the Louisiana Products Liability Act.  The trial court agreed and granted Nissan’s motion, dismissing it from the suit in August 2013.

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Judith Scimeca v. JP Morgan Chase Bank

Judith Scimeca v. JP Morgan Chase Bank
(February 2013)

Devin Fadaol and Lannie Milliman won a victory for JP Morgan Chase Bank and Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company in this personal injury lawsuit. Devin Fadaol successfully argued in the Motion for Summary Judgment hearing that: (1) there is no liability for the neighboring landowner/tenant for accidents occurring just outside of a high rise building on a municipal sidewalk; and (2) the neighboring landowner/tenant does not have a duty to repair, warn or inspect municipal property regardless of its proximity to a neighboring high rise building.  Judge Janice Clark in Baton Rouge granted the MSJ dismissing Chase Bank and Liberty Mutual from the lawsuit.

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Ella Crosby v. Cajun Operating Co./Church’s Chicken

Ella Crosby v. Cajun Operating Co./Church’s Chicken
(August 2013)

USDC, Eastern District of LA – Plaintiff claimed that she slipped and fell as a result of an employee mopping and that no caution wet floor signs were posted to warn her of the condition.  Plaintiff claimed an aggravation of a pre-existing lower back condition which required surgery.  Jury deliberated three hours before rendering a defense verdict finding that the plaintiff did not prove that she fell in the restaurant.  Lead defense counsel – Peter J. Wanek

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Hebert v. Specialized Environmental Resources, LLC, et al

Hebert v. Specialized Environmental Resources, LLC, et al
(March 2013)

Mike Sistrunk, Kyle Kirsch, and Craig Canizaro secured a summary judgment in favor of A-Port, LLC, a dock owner in Grand Isle, on a maritime and state law negligence claim brought by plaintiff, Mark Hebert.  Plaintiff alleged A-Port was liable for injuries he allegedly sustained while boarding a vessel from the A-Port dock.  He claimed A-Port negligently failed to provide him a gangway for boarding the vessel.  Plaintiff’s alleged injuries included the need for a cervical fusion.  Plaintiff also brought a claim for lost wages/earning capacity of approximately $1,000,000.   The Court agreed with A-Port’s argument that dock owners are not liable under federal maritime law to provide gangways to a ship’s crew.  Additionally, the Court agreed with A-Port’s argument that A-Port owed no duty to plaintiff under Louisiana law.  Thus, plaintiff’s claims against A-Port were dismissed, with prejudice, at plaintiff’s cost.

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Jack B. Harper Contractor, Inc. v. United Fiberglass of America, Inc.

Jack B. Harper Contractor, Inc. v. United Fiberglass of America, Inc.
(February 2013)

Keith W. McDaniel, Quincy T. Crochet and Heather Nagel Shockley of McCranie, Sistrunk, Anzelmo, Hardy McDaniel & Welch LLC obtained a favorable result for Prime Conduit, Inc. (“PCI”) following a nearly three-week jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  Jack B. Harper Contractor, Inc. (“Harper”) filed the lawsuit against United Fiberglass of America, Inc. (“UFA”) and PCI and alleged defects in a multi-cell conduit system referred to as Multi-Gard.  Prior to suit, Harper entered a contract with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for the installation of digital messaging signs, cameras and radar, along with underground and structure-mounted conduit to house the power cable and fiber optic cable which serviced and powered the equipment.  Harper purchased and installed Multi-Gard for use on elevated portions of Interstates 310 and 10 near New Orleans, Louisiana.  UFA and PCI each manufactured certain components of the conduit system, which Harper argued was defective and caused delayed completion of the project.  The case proceeded to trial before a jury with Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo presiding.  PCI defended Harper’s claims, rejecting the notion that the conduit was defective and arguing instead that any issues encountered by Harper were due to faulty installation techniques.  In closing, counsel for Harper asked the jury to cast PCI with 70% fault and UFA with 20% fault, and to award damages totaling almost five million dollars.  However, the jury rejected Harper’s request and determined instead that PCI was only 12% at fault.  The jury placed the majority of the fault on Harper at 53%, with the remaining 35% fault assessed against UFA.  The jury also determined that Harper’s damages totaled less than two million dollars.  After applying the fault percentages fixed by the jury, the Court entered Judgment in Harper’s favor against PCI for $229,883.52, a figure which represents less than 5% of the amount requested by Harper during closing arguments.

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Warino v. Lafleur

Warino v. Lafleur
(February 2013)

 Tommy Anzelmo and Craig Canizaro successfully represented Westwego City Councilman Larry Warino in an election challenge brought on his behalf seeking the disqualification of a candidate for Chief of Police for the City of Westwego.  The Court disqualified the defendant candidate, Roy Lafleur, on the grounds that he was not domiciled within the City of Westwego for the year preceding his qualification as a candidate for Chief of Police.  The Court was presented with an array of documents that evidenced Lafleur habitually resided in Bridge City rather than Westwego.  In response, Lafleur submitted a 2006 residential lease and voter ID card showing an address within the city.  Plaintiff rebutted both documents by noting more recent documents contradicted the lease and voter ID card.   The Court determined the plaintiff carried his burden of proof in objecting to Lafleur’s candidacy even in light of the liberal deference the Court must show to the candidate in a residency challenge over his qualifications to run for office.  Thus, the Court took the rare step of disqualifying a candidate for elected office on the basis of a lack of domicile.

 Case No. 723-920, 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson

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