M. Joey Bernard
Joey has a wide range of experience in representing a variety of businesses directly or through their insurance carrier in litigation in state and federal courts. Mr. Bernard frequently counsels foreign and surplus lines insurers in litigation matters involving commercial, premises liability, insurance coverage, construction litigation, products liability, other insurance related litigation and large class action matters. He has defended numerous employers in connection with state workers’ compensation claims in several industries. Mr. Bernard truly enjoys his representation of clients in the defense of admiralty and maritime litigation, including claims under the Longshore and Harborworkers Compensation Act.
Joey plays a large role in mentoring younger associates in all areas of Insurance Defense, often writing guidelines and protocols to assist with efficient, effective processes.
Mr. Bernard can provide services in both English and French languages.
Loyola University College of Law, New Orleans, Louisiana
Juris Doctor – 1987
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bachelor of Arts – 1983
Dean’s List – 1980 – 1983
- Louisiana, 1987
- 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
- Louisiana State Bar Association
- Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
Take-Nothing Verdict Twice Secured by Firm Attorneys
Firm attorneys twice obtained a take-nothing verdict against a plaintiff in matter arising from alleged negligence in the completion of repairs performed at the plaintiff’s residence by defendant contractor. Plaintiff alleged that she sustained significant personal injuries requiring surgical treatment of her shoulder and cervical spine, plus multiple lumbar spine surgeries. In addition, plaintiff alleged entitlement to future damages for migraine headache syndrome. Past medical expenses totaled $453,000, and plaintiff asserted future medical expenses in the amount of $117,000. In closing argument, plaintiff asked for damages in excess of $1.75 million. At the initial trial, and after a second trial ordered after an appeal, separate unanimous juries declined to find liability, instead entering a take-nothing verdict against plaintiff.
Maintain Your Construction Site! Dispositive Motion Leads to Dismissal of Claims Against Construction Company
Success via motions as lead counsel in defense of matter arising from a trip and fall on construction debris alleged to have been left onsite by the client, one of the construction companies responsible for sidewalk repair, during post-Katrina parish roadway and sidewalk repair. Plaintiff alleged serious injuries to her elbow and arm resulting in two separate surgical procedures involving a complex elbow reconstruction and fracture repair. Counsel was successful in securing a dismissal of our client via summary judgment. The gist of plaintiff’s opposition consisted of the contention that, because the construction company was assigned the sidewalk repair work and was allegedly the only contractor performing sidewalk repairs in the neighborhood near the time of the accident, the company must therefore be the source of the debris. The trial court agreed with our defense noting that plaintiff could provide no evidence that the company was responsible for, was the source of or was otherwise linked to the debris, granting summary judgment for the defense.
Cost of Defense Settlement in Trip and Fall
Obtained cost of defense settlement as the lead counsel in matter arising from trip and fall on an exposed vacuum hose at the oil change facility owned by the insured. Plaintiff claimed she tripped and fell in the facility, sustaining serious shoulder, lower back, and leg injuries. General allegations of negligence were asserted against the insured primarily related to the insured’s alleged failure to maintain a safe place for patrons and a service area free from unreasonably dangerous conditions. Through discovery efforts firm attorneys developed information disputing plaintiff’s version of the accident and showing that she failed to report any injury to the insured or initially to her treating physicians. Medical evidence also established plaintiff had a significant pre-accident history of lower back and other similar complaints. Despite a high dollar demand, the matter was resolved in a cost of defense settlement at mediation.
Careful Who You Hire! Successful Settlement of Claim with Racial Overtones
Successfully mediated a matter alleging plaintiffs were physically attacked and verbally abused by employees of the insured apartment management company while inquiring about the status of their rental application. While on premises, plaintiffs alleged the manager became verbally and racially abusive, threatened both with a gun and urged her dog to attack plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also argued that the manager called her husband to the scene who then stalked and physically attacked them as they were leaving the premises. The liability of the insured was premised upon assertions of respondeat superior and negligent hiring/training. Medical evidence showed one of the plaintiffs failed to establish any physical injury or post-accident medical care with the other sustaining nominal abrasion injuries. Firm attorneys defended the insured pursuant to a Limited Assault and Battery Coverage Endorsement with coverage limits of $100,000. Despite the racial overtones associated with the claim, the matter was resolved well within policy limits at mediation.
Make It Go Boom! Resolution of Environmental Clean-up Claim After Storage Tank Explosion
Successfully negotiated a matter where claimant, a used oil recovery company, suffered extensive property and other damages associated with cleanup and remediation of its premises after an oil storage tank explosion caused a release of hazardous materials across claimant’s property. Claimant alleged that the insured, retained to construct a concrete pad as part of the tank containment area, caused the explosion when engaging in work outside the original scope of hire cutting metal tank piping attached to one of the oil storage tanks. Pursuant to a plan approved by the State Department of Environmental Quality, claimant was required to cleanup and remove all oil product and other hazardous materials along with all contaminated soil and remediate the property. Claims associated with the spill amounted to approximately $1M. In addition to a claim by the property owner for uncovered expenses associated with cleanup and remediation operation, various insurers instituted claims in subrogation for payments made to or on behalf of the claimant related to covered cleanup and remediation operations. Firm counsel assisted in the investigation of the spill, development of an assessment of potential liability and damages exposures and in the negotiation of settlements well below amounts claimed.
Nominal Settlement in Parish Post-Katrina Residential Demolition Cases
Successfully mediated and negotiated a claim involving seventy-eight property owners of various parcels of immovable property alleging their properties were unlawfully condemned and demolished by the Parish government in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Due the sheer size and severity of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina (and later Hurricane Rita), the Parish contracted with the insured and other entities to assist the Parish in its cleanup efforts. The Parish contracted with the insured to monitor the demolition of condemned structures and the removal of debris. Plaintiff property owners alleged damages related to the condemnation and demolition of their properties to be more than $20M. Through extensive discovery, motion practice and mediation on behalf of one of the Parish’s contractors, firm counsel was successful, along with other parties, in negotiating a $2M settlement of all claims asserted all parties with the insured contributing a total of $200,000 toward settlement.
Counsel Defeats Claim for Injunctive Relief Allowing Residential Rehabilitation Project to Proceed
Success in opposing and defeating all claims for injunctive relief and eventually negotiated a successful and reasonable settlement of claims without impeding the full development of the insured’s building as lead counsel for developer renovating and rehabilitating a two-story warehouse district property adjacent to and sharing a common wall with a law firm into several condominium properties. As part of the renovation of the building, the developer added a third floor to the structure which partially rested on the common wall and completely obstructed several windows along the upper third floor of plaintiff’s building. The owner of the adjacent law firm alleged that the firm’s building suffered extensive structural damage because of the operations of the insured and substantial water intrusion damages associated with a heavy rain event occurring during renovations. Plaintiff also alleged that the windows along the third-floor common wall amounted to a servitude of view/light that was completely obstructed by the construction of the third floor of the adjacent development. In addition to claims for compensatory damages suffered, plaintiff asserted claims for temporary and permanent injunctive relief seeking a permanent injunction against the insured precluding the continuing construction of the development and removal of the third-floor structure of the insured’s building to return the servitude of view/light.