A Record of Success
Results speak louder than words. Thanks to clients who trust and believe in us, we have been able to pursue The Best Defense® on behalf of our clients, and the results – both pre-trial and at trial – demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach. Please see what we have accomplished for our clients in the past.
Success At Trial And On Appeal In 7-figure Personal Injury Case
Our attorneys, showing true determination, won an appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court, after obtaining, not one, but two unanimous jury verdicts in favor of our client in a personal injury case. The first jury verdict was overturned when the trial court granted a motion for a new trial. The second jury verdict was overturned by the appellate court, who rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff in excess of $2 million. With the law on their side and a brilliantly-argued appeal, our attorneys convinced the Louisiana Supreme Court to reinstate the jury verdict in favor of our client.
Dog Bite Case
Our attorneys won an appeal challenging dismissal of our client, in a personal injury dog-bite case. On appeal, we successfully argued that plaintiff failed to present evidence that our client had actual knowledge of a dangerous dog on his leased premises.
Flooding Class Action
Our attorneys won an appeal challenging a trial verdict in favor of our client, a local Parish, in a class-action case filed by Parish residents claiming damages as a result of Hurricane Katrina-related flooding. Plaintiffs’ appeal alleged errors relating to the jury instructions, jury verdict form, and juror polling as well as errors in evidentiary rulings. On appeal, we combed through the complex trial record to prepare a brief that successfully defeated every error alleged on appeal. As a result, the defense verdict in favor of our client was affirmed.
Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Our attorneys successfully defended two clients in federal class action litigation after plaintiffs alleged that they transmitted unsolicited advertisements via facsimile in violation of the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and other laws.
Computer Telemetry System
Our attorney represented a local Parish in a delay claim brought by an international contractor the Parish hired to install a system control and data acquisition system (SCADA computer telemetry system) throughout the Parish. The contractor was well represented by the largest law firm in Louisiana. We were able to defeat the contractor’s claim in its entirety. The Parish paid no money on this multi-million dollar claim and prevailed on its counter claim of $1,000,000.00.
Urban Flood Control Program
Our attorneys assisted with the drafting and negotiation of a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement for a $1 billion drainage improvement program with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and, subsequently, successfully defended lawsuits by third-party residents who claimed damages as a result of the drainage improvements.
Defense Verdict In Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
Our attorneys secured a defense verdict in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed against a state agency (our client) and a local Parish Sheriff’s Office, alleging that probation officers violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to provide certified sign language interpreters for probation meetings. The jury determined that the plaintiff did in fact understand the conditions of probation, that plaintiff’s probation violation was not inadvertent, and that the probation officers had worked diligently to assist plaintiff in understanding and complying with the terms of his probation.
Defense Verdict in Civil Rights Action Against State Police
Our attorneys obtained a defense jury verdict on behalf of four State Troopers in a federal civil rights action. The plaintiff filed suit in federal court in New Orleans alleging that he was falsely stopped, handcuffed, subjected to excessive force, and arrested in violation of his Fourth Amendment constitutional rights. State Troopers arrested the plaintiff after he kicked an officer twice.
Summary Judgment Dismissal In Discrimination Litigation
Our attorneys obtained a summary judgment dismissal for a state agency in a lawsuit by 50 Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Providers alleging discrimination, equal protection and due process violations. Plaintiffs claimed that they were paid less than Non-Emergency Ambulance Providers even though, according to the plaintiffs, both providers performed identical services. The court disagreed, finding that Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Providers do not provide medical services during transport, while Non-Emergency Ambulance Providers do.
State Wide Counsel for the State in Baycol Class Action
Individuals alleged medical malpractice in the prescription drug Baycol against physicians practicing at state facilities. Dismissals were obtained with no monies being paid by or on behalf of our clients.
Toxic Mold in Public Housing
The Firm represented two individual developments in a class action filed by 30 years of public housing development residents who sought damages for exposure to toxic mold resulting from leaking roofs, decrepit plumbing, etc. After a three-day trial, the Judge addressed the plaintiffs’ arguments regarding alleged contractual claims, contra non valentem and continuing tort, and rejected these arguments. Thus, the trial court granted a defense exception of prescription. This ruling was later vacated on procedural grounds by the Louisiana Fourth Circuit. The case was brought on appeal to Supreme Court who denied the writs and sent the matter back to the trial court. In the end, the matter settled very reasonably for our client at mediation.
Hepatitis C Class Action
The firm defended over 50 state owned facilities against a Hepatitis C medical malpractice class action suit that was filed on behalf of 200 plaintiffs. The firm achieved dismissal of all state hospitals after several years of litigation, resulting in no monies being paid in settlement or judgment.
Hurricane Katrina Class Action
The firm was retained by a local Parish to defend multiple (15) class action litigations pending in several federal and state courts. The cases all arose out of the massive flooding that occurred during Hurricane Katrina, with plaintiffs alleging that the Parish guilty of negligence and willful misconduct on a number of grounds, including in the drafting of an emergency operations plan calling for the evacuation of drainage pump operators in face of catastrophic hurricane (Cat 4 or 5). All three of the federal and four of the state class actions were dismissed on pretrial motions with no payment made by the Parish. The remaining eight class actions were consolidated and proceeded to trial. After a four-week jury trial, a verdict was rendered in favor of the Parish, finding no liability on the Parish’s part on any of plaintiffs’ allegations and resulting in a judgment of dismissal entered in the Parish’s favor.
State Agency Class Action
Our attorneys represented a former state agency employee in a class action lawsuit in federal court after plaintiffs alleged damages as a result of actions taken in connection with Louisiana Citizens Property and Casualty Company. Our client prevailed as a result of a successful Motion to Dismiss.
Thousands of Homeowners Flooded During May 1995 flood
The Firm was counsel for local Parish in a class action lawsuit alleging the Parish caused flooding during the May 1995 floods which damaged 14,000 residential and commercial structures throughout the area. The Firm negotiated a settlement which resulted in the dismissal of all of the claims against the Parish with no payment of any money in return for a commitment to pursue a list of drainage improvement projects.
Statewide Counsel for the State in Serzone Class Action
The firm acted as statewide counsel for public mental health care providers defending allegations of medical malpractice in the prescription of the anti-depressant Serzone. The litigation was consolidated to an Multi-District Litigation (MDL) convened at Charleston, West Virginia. The firm obtained full dismissal of all claims after extensive discovery, with no compromises or judgments against our clients.
Soniat Canal Flooding Class Action
Our attorneys obtained dismissal for a local Parish in class action litigation stemming from a flood. Plaintiffs, 15,000 residents of the parish, alleged damages arising out of the May 8, 1995 flood in the Soniat Canal area.
Defense of Class Action Wrongful Demolition
The firm defended two contractors embroiled in a class-action claim by 78 property owners asserting wrongful demolition of storm damaged residences in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The homeowners asserted claims against Parish authorities, engineers and the general contractor alleging that the defendants failed to follow proper administrative and regulatory procedures in demolishing hurricane-damaged homes, failed to provide the required notice prior to demolishing the homes, and failed to provide notice of available appeal remedies after homes were designated for demolition. The general contractor subcontracted the actual demolition and debris removal work to a number of subcontractors, including two subcontractors insured by two different long-time insurer clients of the firm. The general contractor filed third-party demands against each of the subcontractors demanding contractual defense and indemnity of and from the claims in the overlying action. After reviewing the relevant contracts, we filed Motions for Summary Judgment asserting the legal deficiency of the contractual indemnity claims. The motions were granted, allowing our clients to exit the matter, which for others, still rages on today.
Dismissal In Tropical Storm Isidore Class Action
Our attorneys successfully obtained denial of class certification in the Tropical Storm Isidore Class Action Litigation and won summary judgment dismissal of a second Isidore case on a discretionary function basis.
Drafting (Front End) Construction Documents
A local Parish engaged our Firm to rewrite all of its “front end” documents including the agreement, general conditions, and change order forms. Since that time, the construction contracts drafted by our Firm were used in hundreds of public works projects.
Custom Built Home
The plaintiff sued the general contractor, who in turn sued multiple subcontractors, regarding multiple claimed construction defects in a custom designed and built house. The Firm was retained to defend the carpentry/framing contractor who allegedly installed defective floor and ceiling joists and support beams. The matter was settled for a nominal amount.
Mediation to Resolve Complex Design Errors and Omissions Disputes
A Louisiana Parish retained the Firm to advise the Parish in connection with the construction of a new $26,565,000 Performing Arts Center. After the low-bidder was identified, evidence of design problems were identified and an expectation arose that litigation would ensue. As the project progressed, egregious design errors and omissions were discovered resulting in seven major change orders that exceeded $18,000,000. There were hundreds of RFI’s and over 400 revised drawings, more than 300 of which were for structural issues alone. The Parish authorized suit against the architect to attempt to recover for these errors and omissions. The Firm was able to successfully negotiate a settlement of nearly all of the claims against the architect and its subconsultants through mediation conducted early in the litigation in order to preserve and exploit policy limits in an attempt to resolve the lawsuit without undue expense given the amount of liability insurance.
Botched Paint Job
Plaintiff sued the general contractor and painting subcontractor on a new house construction over a botched interior paint job that damaged custom designed, built, and installed cabinetry. The cabinetry had to be torn out and replaced. Multiple issues of coverage, indemnification, violation of unfair trade practices and consumer protection existed.
Local NBA Practice Facility
Claims for the floor damage and the remediation and the redesign and reconstruction of the HV AC system were made against the lead design professional who, in turn, made claims against its sub consultants. After several mediations, the matter was resolved without litigation in less than 8 months after this Firm’s involvement and without any disruption of the Pelicans’ practice needs, The design professionals contributed more than a million dollars to the overall settlement.
Engineering Firm Sued by Parish after Hurricane Katrina
This matter involved the rebuilding of a local Parish following Hurricane Katrina. Subsequent to the total destruction of public buildings following Hurricane Katrina. A local Parish embarked on a very aggressive campaign to rebuild its public infrastructure via FEMA and the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The Parish retained an engineering firm with FEMA experience to act as a program manager for its many projects. To maximize its recovery and speed up deadlines, the Parish decided to consolidate three destroyed facilities into one. This building, as designed and constructed, proved disastrous. The Firm was retained by the engineering firm to defend it in the ensuing litigation. The Parish sued every contractor, sub, supplier, surety and the engineering firm along with every potential insurer. Cross-claims followed. The result was a highly contentious 40-party lawsuit with court designated discovery weeks. There was heavy motion practice and the Firm was successful in resolving some, but not all of the claims asserted against the engineering firm. Ultimately, the case favorably settled but not until after three voluntary and two Court ordered mediations.
Public Works Act Claim
The Firm assisted a local Parish in the pursuit of FEMA claims arising in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Infrastructure damage caused by the Hurricane was extensive and widespread. Firm attorneys, with the assistance of civil engineering experts, developed a novel approach to the assessment and evaluation of roadway damage caused by the Hurricane which was pursued via appeal to a federal arbitration panel in Washington, D.C. The claim was resolved moments prior to the arbitration, to the great satisfaction of the client.
Extensive Residential Renovation
The Firm represented a general contractor in an extensive residential renovation case. Plaintiffs alleged interior damage due to water intrusion, structural deflection and permanent damage to floors caused by lack of support, along with probable permanent structural damage as a result of deflection and leaks and diminution of the home’s value. Following discovery and development of appropriate defenses, which included the necessary retention of structural engineering, general contracting and carpentry experts, the matter was settled for a fraction of the damages sought.
Local Playground Facility
This matter involved the default of a contractor after the Firm which advised the Parish on calling the performance and payment bonds. The Firm continued to advise the Parish throughout the completion of the gymnasium and the negotiation with the Surety over the more than $500,000 in recorded claims, and more than $500,000 in liquidated damages. After the Surety filed suit and the Parish filed its reconventional demand against the Surety, the parties mediated the case over the course of several months, ultimately resulting in a favorable settlement pursuant to the Parish.
Fired for Cause
An employee who was fired for cause filed a federal complaint alleging racial discrimination, emotional distress, conspiracy, Equal Pay Act violations, and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The matter was settled for nuisance value designed to save the potential costs to the State of conducting discovery.
Racial Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation
Plaintiff filed an initial lawsuit asserting racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana under Title VII. The discrimination claims were dismissed on summary judgment, but the harassment and retaliation claims proceeded to trial. Following a five-day jury trial Firm attorneys obtained a unanimous defense jury verdict dismissing all of Plaintiff’s claims.
A former employee of a University who admitted making sexual comments about two African American female co-workers was suspended for two days. The two complainants then filed a grievance alleging that more severe discipline should have been imposed. Per the university’s harassment policy, an ad hoc panel was appointed to consider this grievance. The employee resigned from his position one day prior to the panel’s scheduled meeting. The employee alleged that his resignation should have been treated as a constructive discharge and that the two complainants filed the grievance against him due to his race and age, thus claiming racial discrimination. The matter was settled for nuisance value designed to save the potential costs to our client for conducting discovery and obtaining dismissal on summary judgment.
The employee was fired for cause and thereafter filed a combined retaliatory treatment, wrongful termination and whistleblower complaint against the former employer. The suit was dismissed on an Exception of No Cause of Action.
Trip and Fall at Work
Plaintiff sustained extensive shoulder injuries during a trip-and-fall incident at work. Discovery revealed claimant had an extensive pre-accident history of shoulder and other injuries providing a basis to seek Second Injury Fund relief. The employer application for Second Injury Fund relief was denied by the Office of Workers Compensation. The primary dispute involved whether the employee was entitled to total and permanent disability earnings benefits. The matter was favorably settled at mediation.
Personal Injuries Resulting in Quadriplegia
Firm attorneys secured summary dismissal of a suit arising from a fall from the vehicle ramp of a Mississippi River ferry landing. Plaintiff alleged failure to warn of the risks associated with pedestrian use of the ramp. We filed Motion for Summary Judgment contending that the risks of pedestrian use of the vehicle ramp were open and obvious. The trial court and appeals court denied the Motion, citing unspecified disputed material facts. Challenged to secure a proper legal ruling, and seeking to avoid the significant costs of trial on the merits and attendant expert witness fees, our attorneys argued to the Louisiana Supreme Court that the proper analysis of prior Supreme Court decisions addressing the open and obvious defense, whether a condition is unreasonably dangerous, and whether a duty is owed are by their very nature legal issues ripe for consideration and determination as a matter of law by the Court. The brief circumvented the factual disputes cited by the lower courts, prompting the Justices to conduct the required legal balancing test, and leading to a ruling for the defense.
Alleged Medical Malpractice Causing Renal Failure and Death
Firm attorneys represented physicians in a tow-day trial conducted in Washington Parish, Louisiana. The plaintiffs/survivors alleged malpractice causing renal failure and the death of a patient. Our attorneys’ grasp of the complicated medical issues involved including securing, preparing and presenting at trial the straightforward testimony of complex medical issues through the use of an expert, were central to the successful defense of the action and produced a take-nothing verdict.
Alleged Misdiagnosis of Brain Tumor
The case involved a claim that a teenager’s benign brain tumor was misdiagnosed as malignant and was the cause of intermittent epileptic seizures. Due to the alleged misdiagnosis, extensive brain surgery was performed to remove the tumor as well as some surrounding brain tissue. It was determined post-operatively that the tumor was benign. Plaintiff claimed the surgery was unnecessary and resulted in the loss of brain tissue that left plaintiff with various cognitive and neurological impairments. After a five day jury trial in CDC, and several hours of jury deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of our client/surgeon.
Defense Verdict In Colon Resection Operation Case
Our attorneys secured a defense jury verdict in a medical malpractice action involving allegations of intraoperative complications in a colon resection operation performed by both a staff and resident surgeon. The defense verdict was affirmed on appeal, and, of particular note, the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit authored a decision in fervent support of the teaching system at public hospitals.
Gallbladder Surgery Case
Our attorneys obtained a defense jury verdict in a medical malpractice litigation filed against a medical center in Orleans Parish. The claim involved an elderly woman treated by staff physicians at the medical center. During the course of a gallbladder surgery, the common bile duct was nicked, resulting in a slow but steady leak of bile into the patient’s peritoneum that went undetected during surgery. Prior to trial, a medical review panel concluded that the injury was a known risk of the surgery of which the patient had been informed prior to consenting to the surgery, that the operating physicians had not committed malpractice during the performance of the surgery, and that the patient accordingly was not entitled to recover from the doctors. The jury agreed, returning a defense verdict.
Dismissal Of Katrina Medical Malpractice Claims
Our attorneys obtained dismissal for the Medical Center of Louisiana in multiple medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from Hurricane Katrina.
Defense Verdict In Nephrology Case
Our attorneys obtained a defense jury verdict in medical malpractice litigation filed in Jefferson Parish. A chronically ill patient developed problems during dialysis, was transferred to the emergency room, and died during treatment. Trial of the action consumed three weeks. The jury deliberated less that two-hours, rendering a defense verdict.
Our attorneys obtained a defense jury verdict in medical malpractice case filed against a neurosurgeon. The plaintiff claimed that brain surgery was unnecessary and resulted in the loss of brain tissue that left plaintiff with various cognitive and neurological impairments.
Damaged Iliac Artery During Surgery
The firm assumed the defense of this medical malpractice matter only a few months before trial. The plaintiff was well-represented by a local and experienced trial attorney who specializes in prosecuting medical malpractice actions. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant/surgeons deviated from the standard of care during a diagnostic laparoscopic surgery, specifically alleging that the surgeons strayed from the appropriate operative field and damaged her external iliac artery, ignored her post-operative complaints of leg pain, and failed to secure a vascular consult. At the close of plaintiff’s case, firm attorneys moved for directed verdicts on future medical expenses and economic damages, which were granted. After deliberating about four hours, the jury answered “No” to the first question on the verdict form: “Do you find by a preponderance of the evidence that defendants breached the standard of care in its treatment of plaintiff?” Thus, ending deliberations with an 11-1 defense verdict on liability.
Antique Elevator Case
Motion for Summary Judgment filed by firm attorney convinced the plaintiff to immediately voluntarily dismiss her case. The plaintiff claimed that the insured was responsible for the injuries she sustained after stepping into an empty elevator shaft on the insured’s premises. Our Motion for Summary Judgment established that plaintiff was intimately familiar with the manual operation of the antique elevator and that she was responsible for her own injuries.
Trip and Fall with Spoliation of Evidence Claim
André Gaudin tried a trip-and-fall case in Orleans Parish. Plaintiff misstepped while exiting one of the bars flanking the carriageway of the historic building housing an iconic New Orleans watering hole. Plaintiff stumbled and struck a brick wall across the carriageway sustaining injuries. At the conclusion of trial, plaintiffs’ attorneys asked the jury to enter judgment against our client arguing for liability and proposing damages in excess of $500,000. Plaintiffs’ counsel also asserted a claim of spoliation of evidence against the defendants. The jury declined both requests, returning a defense verdict for the defendants. The jury found that plaintiff failed to prove the existence of a defective condition that caused or contributed to plaintiffs fall, and the spoliation claim was rejected.
Recreational Use Immunity
Firm attorney Bevan W. Sabo secured a summary dismissal of a claim and suit arising out of a fatal All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) accident. The decedent was operating his three-wheel ATV on a private dirt road owned by the firm’s clients and lost control after striking a mound of sand which had been dumped by an 18-wheeler using the private road to access a neighboring truck stop. The decedent’s children filed a wrongful death and survival action naming as defendants the truck stop, the 18-wheeler’s owner/operator, and the firm’s landowner/clients. Pursuing an aggressive and early defense strategy, a Motion for Summary Judgment was filed along with the Answer to the lawsuit, asserting the “Recreational Use Immunity” provided by Louisiana Revised Statutes 9:2791 and 9:2795. Though the hearing on the Motion was delayed by the Court to permit discovery, the Court ultimately ruled in favor of our landowners/clients less than a year after the clients were sued, dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims.
Slip and Fall with $1.1 Million Demand
In Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, “a judicial hell hole” an alleged slip-and-fall accident in a restaurant was tried to jury over four days. The dispute centered on the purportedly “sweaty” condition of the tiled floors of an 1860’s era New Orleans warehouse building converted to an upscale and popular restaurant. While there was no doubt that plaintiff fell to the floor, knowledge of any condition which could have caused her to fall was specifically denied by the insured, who also generally denied that the tiled floors regularly became slippery due to condensation. Plaintiff claimed she suffered a herniated disc in her neck, rotator cuff tears in both shoulders that required surgery, and depression. Plaintiff incurred medical bills of $180,000, lost wages of $110,000, and asked for a total of $1.1 million dollars in closing argument. The jury returned a unanimous, take-nothing verdict in just over 15 minutes.
Chinese Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation
The Firm was retained to represent the insurer of multiple installers in a massive federal consolidated class action and Multi District Litigation involving defectively manufactured Chinese drywall installed in homes throughout the Southeast following multiple storms occurring in the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. Suits were filed against manufacturers, sellers, and installers of drywall, along with their insurers. The Firm asserted multiple coverage defenses and participated in negotiations culminating in a favorable settlement of all known and unknown drywall claims, actual and potential, and release of insurer and all insured installers.
Leaking Ice Machine Case
Firm attorneys secured a dismissal via Motion for Summary Judgment for our client in a case involving a leaking ice machine situated in a local medical facility. Plaintiff, an employee of the facility, attempted to repair the machine and, in the process, was struck on her head when the front panel of the machine detached. Plaintiff claimed extensive injuries, including traumatic brain injury, as a result of the incident.
Structural Engineer Sued for Acts of Negligence
A national grocery chain experienced subsidence and differential settlement at a newly constructed food store. Suit was filed against multiple architects, engineers, and contractors based on separate acts of negligence occurring during the design/build phase as well as during post-construction repair efforts. The Firm was retained to defend the project’s structural engineer. Through diligent document review and research, firm attorneys obtained dismissal of all claims on both the design/build phase and repair phase on summary judgment.
41 Vehicle Accident
The firm obtained dismissals of the State in fourteen (14) separate lawsuits in Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, which were strategically not consolidated. All of these arose as a result of a 41-car pile-up on Interstate 10 in New Orleans East in the early morning hours of December 21, 2011, due to heavy fog and smoke which produced zero visibility conditions.
Theft of a Collectible Automobile
Plaintiff left his collectors’ car valued at $200,000 with a mechanic who rented space at our insured’s repair shop. The mechanic subsequently stole the engine and other parts from the car and left the body of the vehicle outdoors where it sustained severe rust damage. The Firm successfully obtained a dismissal on summary judgment on the grounds that our insured, who merely rented space to the mechanic, owed no duty to the plaintiff.
Rear-End Accident Involving Bulldozer
The Firm successfully represented Defendant, his company, and his insurer, in a five-day jury trial in Beauregard Parish. Plaintiff alleged Defendant rear-ended her Ford F150 pick-up truck with his bulldozer while she was stuck in the mud. Defendant denied it; witnesses supported both accounts. Plaintiff asked for more than $1.1 million for a two level discectomy with plate and cadaver bone placement and a right carpal tunnel release. After heavy cross-examination, the jury remained impressed with the firm’s medical expert who walked them through plaintiff’s two pre-surgery MRI films, something plaintiff’s treating surgeon did not do. In the end, the jury believed the defense and reached a no liability defense verdict.
Automobile Accident with Multiple Injuries, Credibility Questioned
Plaintiff claimed a variety of injuries following an automobile accident with our commercially insured client, including two lost teeth, cervical disc protrusions, and a partial AC joint tendon tear. Plaintiff demanded policy limits and rejected a pre-trial settlement offer of $50,000. Although our client did not have strong arguments on negligence, our attorneys attacked plaintiff’s credibility and causation at trial. After a three day trial, including a rigorous cross examination of the plaintiff, the jury rendered a defense verdict in less than an hour concluding that the plaintiff did not meet his burden of proving causation.
Rear-end accident involving an 18-wheeler
The Firm settled a contentious case at mediation for $150,000 where plaintiff rear-ended our insured’s 18- wheeler. Plaintiff suffered severe injuries that prevented him from returning to his job as a mechanic, and had plaintiff prevailed at trial he likely would have recovered over $1 million in damages. Liability was disputed, as plaintiff’s accident reconstructionist contended that our insured had illegally stopped his truck in the roadway without engaging in appropriate hazard lights and warning signals required by Federal Regulations. We retained an accident reconstructionist who pointed out that even if our driver had not employed proper precautions (which we denied), the plaintiff nevertheless had ample time to avoid the accident. The case was complicated by the death of a witness who observed the accident and loss of evidence that occurred before the insurer received notice of the claim.
Plaintiff struck by errant driver
Plaintiff was struck by an errant driver while he was attending the Christmas Parade in New Roads, Louisiana, in 2013. The Parade is an annual event produced by the City of New Roads. The errant driver was not in the employ, direction or control of New Roads, but plaintiff sued the City claiming that the City’s security plan, which included various street closures and blockades and a significant police presence, was ineffective and a contributing cause of his significant injuries. Firm attorneys filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asserting immunity from the claims pursuant to the so-called Mardi Gras Immunity statute, La. R.S. 9:2796 and, in the alternative, arguing that the City could not be held liable for the intentional and/or criminal acts of a third party. Though granting plaintiff broad discovery – the Police Chief, several City of New Roads police officers, and City parade organizers were deposed – the trial judge ultimately agreed with the City. The Court granted the Motion and dismissed all claims against the City of New Roads.
Rear-End Accident Plaintiff Seeking $1.17 Million
Firm attorneys successfully prosecuted the defense of a case of commercial auto lability in Orleans Parish Civil District Court – a challenging jurisdiction – in which plaintiff secured a jury verdict well-within the pre-suit potential judgment evaluation and, indeed, below the last pre-trial offer and Offer of Judgment. Plaintiff was involved a rear-end collision, thus presenting a case of presumed liability. Plaintiff claimed significant injuries as a result of the accident, submitted to an L4-5 lumbar fusion and presented at trial with emerging, pre-surgical knee complaints. She claimed she was totally disabled from pursuing her pre-accident employment as a nurse. At the close of trial, plaintiff counsel argued for an award of $1.17 million; the jury awarded just over $350,000, critically including only $189,000 in general damages and $26,000 for total – past and future – economic damages.
Injuries due to a rear-end accident
Plaintiff filed suit complaining of injuries caused by a rear-end accident on I-10 East just outside Laplace, Louisiana. A Motion for Summary Judgment was granted pre-trial in favor of the plaintiff, casting the insured at fault in the cause of the motor vehicle accident and liable for any injuries and damages proved at trial. During the five day jury trial, plaintiff presented evidence of spinal pathologies in the cervical and lumbar spine and offered the testimony of his treating neurosurgeon, who recommended not one but two spinal fusion procedures. The defense was hampered by the lack of any evidence of significant prior accidents, injuries or claims. Plaintiff’s life care planner and forensic economist proposed special damages of nearly $1.5 million, and at the conclusion of trial, plaintiff’s counsel suggested that the jury enter an award just shy of $3.5 million. Instead, the jury answered only the first question of the jury verdict form: “Did Plaintiff suffer an injury as a result of the October 16, 2015, automobile accident?” The jury answered “No.”
Wrongful Death Involving a Paving and Asphalt Contractor
Firm attorneys André C. Gaudin and Joseph J. Valencino secured a defense verdict in a Mississippi road-construction, wrongful death case following a five-day jury trial in Jackson County, Mississippi.
Plaintiffs sued a paving and asphalt contractor and the local county government for their alleged combined fault in causing the single vehicle accident. The decedent drove or “fell” off the newly paved road, allegedly was unable to correct or re-steer onto the roadway due to a steep drop off or low shoulder caused by the paving operation, struck an intersecting roadway and was ejected from the vehicle and perished. Plaintiffs alleged that the insured’s paving operations created a hazard on the roadway and that, further, the insured failed to warn the motoring public and the decedent of the hazard by failing to install or maintain low or no shoulder warning signs at the site. Plaintiffs sought economic and general damages and additionally claimed punitive damages.
While asserting the usual defenses to duty and breach thereof, Firm attorneys specifically pushed back against plaintiffs’ proximate cause position. Critically, this defense was crystallized by exposing the pre-trial opinions of plaintiffs’ own accident reconstruction expert, who testified at trial in a manner contrary to his report and discovery deposition. Mid-trial motion practice successfully discharged the negligence per se, joint venture (with the county) and punitive damage claims, but the trial judge preserved the simple negligence claim for consideration and determination by the jury. The jury, hearing the claims against the insured paving contractor reached only the first question on the jury verdict form: Was [the insured] negligent and did the negligence of [the insured] proximately cause or contribute to [plaintiffs’ decedent’s] single vehicle accident and subsequent death? The jury answered: “No.”
Accident involving Streetcar
Firm Attorneys also handled, and are presently defending cases involving motor vehicle collisions among commercial vehicles, including buses, and the iconic New Orleans streetcars. It is not uncommon for the rider-count on streetcars to rise in the aftermath of a collision. The Firm has successfully defended such cases by recovering video from the streetcar operator, which has recently mounted cameras on the cars to capture both exterior views – which generally assist in developing the circumstances of the collision – and interior views, which assist in the evaluation of rider claims. In one such case, the Firm established that the insured vehicle was stationary at the time of the collision: the movement of the streetcar caused the impact. The insurance client participated nominally in the settlement negotiated by the streetcar operator.
Trucking Accident Plaintiff Demanded $1 Million Dollar Settlement
Firm attorneys secured a $0 jury verdict after a week-long trial in Federal Court. The case involved a high speed three-vehicle trucking accident in which a co-defendant truck collided with our insured truck before striking plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff was well-represented by a firm who recently was successful in obtaining a $51 million dollar verdict in a well-publicized trucking case. Plaintiff initially demanded a $1 million settlement from our insured and threatened to seek an excess verdict. They argued that our insured driver was negligent for slowing on the interstate and went so far as to claim our insured company was negligent for hiring and retaining the driver and asked the jury for several million dollars. Despite being the only defendant left at trial, our attorneys convinced the jury that our insured was blame-free and obtained a zero defense verdict.
Multiple Injuries Sustained in Trucking Accident
The Plaintiff alleged multiple injuries, permanent disabilities, and past and future lost wages due to a clear liability trucking accident. By conducting extensive online and social media investigation and discovery, Firm attorneys were able to significantly undercut the plaintiff’s claims and negotiated a favorable settlement on eve of trial.
Defense Verdict In Three-Vehicle Trucking Accident Case
Our attorneys obtained a defense jury verdict in a lawsuit filed against a Gulf Coast trucking company in federal court. Plaintiff demanded a $1 million settlement for alleged injuries stemming from a three-vehicle trucking accident in which a co-defendant truck collided with our insured’s truck before colliding with plaintiff.
Wrongful Death Due to Defective Tires
The Firm obtained the dismissal of our client on summary judgment in this wrongful death action. After aggressive and targeted discovery practice, our attorneys argued and the court agreed that there was no question of fact and further, that plaintiff would not be able to prove at trial that our client’s tires were on the decedent’s vehicle at the time of the fatal accident. The Firm obtained dismissal of our client on summary judgment.
The Firm secured the de minimis settlement of a commercial claim arising from damage to a production operating/sequencing computer which allegedly caused a loss of production and associated profits. The client allegedly not only failed to repair the sequencing computer, but further damaged the computer while in possession of the machine. Firm attorneys pursued defenses serving not only to defeat the allegation that the device was damaged while in the client’s care, but also defusing the claim for alleged lost profits by demonstrating the limited utility of the device before it was tendered for repair. The claim was resolved on a cost-of-defense basis.
Emergency Restoration Claim
The Firm defended a local Parish in a complex commercial claim asserted by a Fortune 500 Company arising from extensive, emergency cleaning and restoration services performed at a number of Parish buildings and properties following Hurricane Katrina. Defense of the claim required scrutiny of voluminous procurement and billing records generated by the parties, and by plaintiff’s sub-contractors. Whereas the initial claim totaled six-times the available insurance coverage, firm attorneys pressing defenses focused on excessive and inflated manpower and materials charges successfully reigned-in and were able to resolve the claim within the available coverage.