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Hebert v. Specialized Environmental Resources, LLC, et al

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

Mike Sistrunk 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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Julie Bickett v. Walgreens

Julie Bickett v. Walgreens
(July 2011)

Devin Fadaol and Heather Shockley won a victory for Walgreens in a one day bench trial before Judge William Morvant in Baton Rouge. The plaintiff incurred $24,000.00 in medical bills and underwent an open reduction and hardware placement surgery to repair a fractured radius. Walgreens tried the case on liability and the Judge returned a defense judgment finding Walgreens not at fault.

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Reno Gregoire, Jr. v. RSUI/Landmark American Insurance Company

Reno Gregoire, Jr. v. RSUI/Landmark American Insurance Company
(May 2011)

Michael Sistrunk and Devin Fadaol won a victory for RSUI and Landmark American Insurance Company in this personal injury lawsuit. Michael Sistrunk successfully argued in the Motion for Summary Judgment hearing that there is no coverage or duty to defend under the assault and battery exclusion in the Landmark American Insurance Company policy. Judge Kirk Vaughn in Chalmette granted the MSJ dismissing RSUI and Landmark American Insurance Company from the lawsuit.

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Amy Ochello v. RSUI/Landmark American Insurance Company

Amy Ochello v. RSUI/Landmark American Insurance Company
(April 2011)

Michael Sistrunk and Devin Fadaol won a victory for RSUI and Landmark American Insurance Company in this personal injury lawsuit alleging brain damage to the plaintiff. Michael Sistrunk successfully argued in the Motion for Summary Judgment hearing that there is no coverage or duty to defend under the assault and battery exclusion in the Landmark American Insurance Company policy. Judge Rosemary Ledet in New Orleans granted the MSJ dismissing RSUI and Landmark American Insurance Company from the lawsuit.

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Glenn D. Schurr and Lori Schurr v. Christopher M. Gagnon, Milton L. Gagnon, United States Automobile Association (USAA) and Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company

Glenn D. Schurr and Lori Schurr v. Christopher M. Gagnon, Milton L. Gagnon,
United States Automobile Association (USAA) and Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company
(January 2010)

Donna Wood succeeded in obtained a summary judgment dismissing the claim against USAA on the basis of lack of coverage successfully defended an appeal of that judgment. The Louisiana Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the claim against USAA, finding that the non-owned truck’s Rated Load Capacity exceeded the amount allowed under the USAA personal automobile policy, and thus, was specifically excluded.

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One River Place Condominium Association, Inc. v. Axis Surplus Insurance Company

One River Place Condominium Association, Inc. v. Axis Surplus Insurance Company
(June 2009)

Sid Hardy and McCranie Sistrunk obtained a favorable jury verdict for Axis Surplus Insurance Company following a seven day trial in federal court in New Orleans. Axis insured One River Place, a luxury condominium high-rise building in downtown New Orleans on the Mississippi River, under a property insurance policy issued to its condo association. The property suffered damage during Hurricane Katrina. Axis adjusted the claim and made payments for damages that it found to be caused by the high winds of Hurricane Katrina.

One River Place filed suit against Axis, alleging that the property suffered additional damage that should have been covered under the policy. One River Place also alleged that Axis failed to pay for “business interruption” damages for two months of condominium assessments which the Board of Directors had waived following Hurricane Katrina. One River Place further alleged that Axis had acted in bad faith during the adjustment of its claim, entitling it to penalties under Louisiana law. Finally, One River Place alleged that Axis violated Emergency Rule 23 for failing to renew the insurance policy beyond June 1, 2006, entitling it to additional penalties.

One River Place presented testimony from members of its Board and from its insurance agent regarding the issues of coverage under the policy, claims handling, and the decision of the Board to seek replacement coverage from a different insurer. Regarding the extent and cause of property damage, One River Place presented testimony from its general contractor, its roofing contractor, and the architect who designed and managed an extensive renovation project following Hurricane Katrina.

Axis argued that the extensive renovations to the building were not related to Hurricane Katrina, but rather were improvements to the property that made it better able to withstand future hurricanes and corrected fundamental problems present since the construction of the building. In support of this argument, Axis presented testimony from the engineers who inspected the property following Hurricane Katrina, contractors who performed the renovations to the property, and an expert architect who called into question the opinions of One River Place’s expert architect.

Regarding the issues of “business interruption” damages, Axis presented testimony and evidence which showed that the collection of two months of condominium fees was waived by a voluntary act of the Board, and also that the property was habitable and that unit owners had returned to the property during that two month period. Finally, regarding the issue of the alleged Rule 23 violation, Axis presented evidence to show that One River Place was actively shopping the market for alternative replacement coverage in 2006, that Axis extended coverage under the existing policy every time that One River Place requested it do so, and that One River Place chose to purchase replacement coverage from a different insurer in June 2006.

At the close of trial, One River Place asked the jury to award it over $8 million in damages, including payment for its renovation project, payment for additional planned renovation, payment for two months of business interruption damages, bad faith penalties, and damages under Emergency Rule 23. Axis asked the jury to find that it had paid for all covered damages under the policy and to award no additional monies.

After over six hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict finding that Axis had not acted in bad faith, had not violated Emergency Rule 23, and did not owe penalties to One River Place. The jury awarded a minimal amount in comparison to the demand for business expenses and property damages. After the Court subtracted the deductible on the policy, the net Judgment awarded One River Place under $200,000 in total damages.

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Ankesheiln v. USAA

Ankesheiln v. USAA
(March 2009)

Thomas P. Anzelmo tried a case in the Civil District Court in New Orleans, LA. The case involved a rear-end auto accident and liability was stipulated to. Representing the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Carrier (USAA), the defendant argued that the accident was a minor one and could not have caused the serious low back injuries alleged by the plaintiff, and also that the plaintiff’s back complaints, which gradually became worse in the years following the accident, were related to his degenerative disc condition and not the accident. The plaintiff eventually had a two level fusion of the lower two vertebrae in his back and claimed related medical expenses in excess of $200,000. Incidentally, prior to trial, the excess UIM carrier settled two days before trial for $200,000.

In closing, the plaintiff requested that the jury award $1,010,000.00 including approximately $209,000 in medical expenses. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff but awarded only $47,000 in general damages and $20,000 in past and future medical expenses. USAA had tendered $10,000 prior to trial and with a credit for payment made by the primary carrier ($10,000), the net judgment was $47,000.

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Deborah Jackson v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al.

Deborah Jackson v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al.
(October 2008)

Thomas P. Anzelmo won a victory in favor of Landmark Insurance Company in Jackson v. Allstate Ins. Co., 07-7904 in the Eastern District Court of Louisiana. Plaintiff sued Landmark arguing that it provided Errors and Omission coverage for an insurance agent whom they alleged negligently procured her a flood insurance policy without advising her about the proper limits of insurance needed. Judge Lemmon granted Landmark’s Motion to Dismiss dismissing plaintiff’s claims against Landmark finding that Landmark’s “Claims Made” policy did not provide coverage since the alleged acts occurred prior to the retroactive date of the policy.

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House Call Home Health Care v. Rodco Worldwide, et al.

House Call Home Health Care v. Rodco Worldwide, et al.
(March 2008)

Michael R. Sistrunk won a victory in favor of Axis Surplus Insurance Company in the case entitled House Call Home Health Care v. Rodco Worldwide, et al., Docket No. 07-9088 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana where plaintiff attempted to assert a Hurricane Katrina claim against Axis. Judge Lemelle granted Axis’ Motion to Dismiss finding that Axis had no coverage for plaintiff’s claims.

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Bayou Medical Care, Inc. v Rodco Worldwide, et al.

Bayou Medical Care, Inc. v Rodco Worldwide, et al.
(February 2008)

Michael R. Sistrunk won a victory in favor of Axis Surplus Insurance Company in the case entitled Bayou Medical Care, Inc. v. Rodco Worldwide, et al., Docket No. 07-10966 in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans where plaintiff attempted to assert a Hurricane Katrina claim against Axis. The Court granted Axis’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings find Axis had no coverage for plaintiff’s claims.

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