Dennis J. Phayer
Mr. Phayer regularly counsels and defends governmental entities in class action litigation. Mr. Phayer focuses his practice in defending physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice litigation. In addition, he specializes in transportation, garage liability, commercial auto, governmental entities and complex injury litigation. Mr. Phayer also has extensive trial experience in state and federal courts in municipal liability, personal injury and premises liability litigation.
Mr. Phayer is a member of the New Orleans Bar Association, Louisiana State Bar Association and American Bar Association. He is a member of the Tort and Insurance Practice Sections. Mr. Phayer is also a member of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel.
Mr. Phayer received his J.D. and B.A. from Tulane University.
Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana
Juris Doctor – 1979
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Bachelor of Arts – 1976
- Louisiana, 1979
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana
- U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
- New Orleans Bar Association, Member
- Louisiana State Bar Association, Member
- American Bar Association, Member
- Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel, Member
- Claims & Litigation Management Alliance, Member
Medical Malpractice and the Standard of Care
Obtained defense verdict at trial after the Firm assumed the defense of the case only months before trial started. Plaintiff filed suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court. 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.
Known and Consented Risks of Surgery
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 the injury was a known risk of the surgery of which the patient had been informed prior to consenting to the surgery, the operating physicians had not committed malpractice during the performance of the surgery, and the patient accordingly was not entitled to recover from the doctors. The jury agreed, returning a defense verdict.
Secured a $0 jury verdict after a weeklong 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.
Co-lead Counsel for all Katrina related flooding lawsuits and class actions against local Parish. Successfully obtained dismissal of all of the Federal Court Cases, with no money being paid by our clients.
Ferry Landing Dangers
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 a 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.