When a lawsuit is filed for an injury, most people assume that the claim will be sorted out in court in a timely manner. Sometimes, however, a case can get significantly delayed by years, even before a trial has occurred. In these instances, it is also possible that the case becomes “abandoned” if neither side takes any action towards furthering the course of the lawsuit. For one West Feliciana woman, the defense tried to do just that and claimed case abandonment.
In September 2005, Sheryl Cummings filed a lawsuit individually and on behalf of Shedrick Cummings, alleging that Shedrick became a quadriplegic after sustaining severe injuries from a football game at West Feliciana High School Stadium. Cummings named the West Feliciana Parish School Board (WFPSB), West Baton Rouge Parish School Board (WBRPSB), and several insurance companies, including AIG Insurance (National Union), claiming that there was insurance accident policy coverage of $1,000,000.
The district court judge dismissed claims against several insurance companies and severed the claim from WFPSB from the claims against National Union. In July 2009, all of Cummings’ claims against WFPSB were dismissed. In January 2016, National Union filed a motion to dismiss Cummings’ claims, alleging abandonment because of no steps taken on the case in over three years. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the claims. Shedrick Cummings appealed the decision to the State of Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal.