Articles Posted in Miscellaneous

neighborhood_house_roof_line-1024x768Under the Louisiana Recreational Use Immunity Statues, owners and operators of property used for recreational purposes are immune for liability for tortious acts. Does this immunity apply when a child is injured playing in a gated residential community? 

Three Doyle children were playing in the common area of their subdivision in Covington, Louisiana when a rotted tree fell on one of the children, severely injuring him. His parents filed a lawsuit against Lonesome Development, the Natchez Trace Property Owners Association, Renaissance Property Management, and their insurers. The Doyles claimed Lonesome and Natchez Trace were responsible for maintaining the common area of the subdivision. The Doyles also claimed Lonesome, Natchez Trace, and Renaissance had responsibility and control for the rotted tree and should have known it posed an unreasonable risk of harm. 

Lonesome was the original owner of the Natchez Trace subdivision. Natchez Trace had an agreement with Renaissance, whereby Renaissance was responsible for maintaining and managing the homeowners’ association. Lonesome and its insurer filed a summary judgment motion, arguging it was immune from liability under La. R.S. 9:2791 and 9:2795 (the Recreational Use Immunity Statutes). Renaissance and Natchez Trace subsequently filed almost identical summary judgment motions. The trial court granted Natchez Trace’s summary judgment motion, finding it was immune under the Recreational Use Immunity Statutes, but denied Lonesome and Renaissance’s summary judgment motions. 

usps_post_office_building-1024x757In the bustling corridors of the U.S. Postal Service in Istrouma, Louisiana, a tale of workplace strife and legal intricacies unfolded. Catherine J. Valdry, a dedicated mail carrier, found herself entangled in a web of allegations against her supervisor, Clifton Maryland, a Customer Service Manager. What began as a refusal to join Maryland on a fishing trip soon spiraled into an alleged hostile work environment, as Valdry claimed she faced emotional distress and aggressive conduct. When she summoned the courage to report Maryland’s behavior, the situation took a turn for the worse, with ominous warnings and intensified micromanagement. Valdry’s pursuit of justice led her to the courtroom, where she aimed to prove her case, facing the challenging task of establishing a retaliatory hostile work environment. This article delves into the legal intricacies of her journey, from the district court’s initial ruling to the appellate court’s ultimate decision, which ultimately declared the case moot.

Valdry filed a retaliatory hostile work environment lawsuit. When bringing forth a prima facie case of retaliatory hostile work environment, the district court stated the harassment must be severe and affect the complainant’s employment. In response to the lawsuit, Maryland filed a motion of summary judgment. Summary judgment is appropriate when there is “no genuine issue of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” The facts are considered in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Galindo v. Precision Am. Corp.

The district court granted the summary-judgment motion, although the Fifth Circuit was undecided on whether the retaliatory hostile work environment claim was applicable under Title VII. The district court also presumed the motion would consider all events occurring after Valdry’s internal complaint about Maryland on September 13, 2013.

fire_firefighters_fire_truck-1024x683If you and your family members are injured in an apartment fire, you might think you would be able to recover for your injuries from the apartment owners.  However, the law may only allow you to recover for your damages with sufficient evidence to support your claim. 

Afrah Qasem and her daughter, Asary Shotah, tried to escape from a fire in their apartment by jumping out of the window of their apartment on the second floor. They filed a lawsuit against Acadian Apartments for the injuries they suffered.  Qasem and her daughter claimed they had been injured due to Acadian’s negligence.  They claimed Acadian did not have sufficient policies and procedures in place, did not have working fire alarms or fire extinguishers, and had insufficiently marked emergency exits.  

Acadian responded, claiming that Qasem and her daughter had caused the fire by using a candle or other similar device and did not extinguish the fire.  Acadian wanted $50,000 in damages for the fire. Acadian filed a summary judgment motion under La. C.C.P. 966, claiming Qasem and her daughter could not prove Acadian had caused the fire and was liable for their damages. The trial court granted Acadian’s summary judgment motion. Qasem and her daughter appealed, claiming the trial court erred in granting Acadian’s summary judgment motion. 

mma_fight_maza_maza-1024x683What happens when a final judgment from a court lacks precise language as to the damages you should be awarded? The First Circuit Court of Appeals answers this question and explains the importance of precision and certainty in all civil case language.

While attempting to break up a fight between his friend Christopher and Trevor Wilson in early October of 2007, Ryan Martinez, who was a patron at Chevy’s Inc. (“Chevy’s), was struck in the face. Around a year later on February 29, 2008, Martinez wanted Wilson, Chevy’s and their respective insurers (“defendants”) to pay for the injury her received from the fight. Martinez claimed that Wilson punched him in the left cheek, resulting in a fracture that required his jaw to be wired shut for around eight (8) weeks. Martinez lost 30 pounds due to a lack of solid food, which prevented him from working and forced him to drop two classes he was enrolled in. His main assertion was that Wilson was liable for battery, entitling him to damages from the incident.

At the trial court level, the court found in favor of Martinez and awarded him special and general damages that were to be paid by the defendants. The court found in favor of Martinez and against Wilson and awarded damages (special and general) to Martinez for $35,128.66. 

horse_race_hippodrome_horses-1024x587Horse races represent a lot of things: money, power, competition. The outcomes of races matter a lot to those involved, and debates about those races can be pretty contentious, even getting to court. When a back-and-forth about the rightful winner of a horse race makes it to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, how does the court deal with this unique and specific area of law?

The Second Circuit had to decide which horse, “Coalport” or “Benwill”, won the Unbridled Stakes horse race at Louisiana Downs. Coalport’s owners, the Ramseys, brought a suit against the Louisiana State Racing Commission (the “Commission”) after the Louisiana Downs Stewards questioned and reversed Coalport’s win at Unbridled Stakes. Ultimately, the Board of Stewards found that Coalport had fouled Benwill and prevented Benwill from winning the race. Accordingly, Coalport was demoted to second place, and Benwill took first place. The Ramseys first appealed the Stewards’ finding to the Commission, but the Commission affirmed the decision. The Ramseys then appealed to the 26th Judicial District Court, which reversed the decision and reinstated Coalport as the race winner. In its decision, the trial court held that the Commission should have assessed the Stewards’ decision with greater scrutiny and that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Coalport fouling Benwill changed the race outcome. 

The Commission appealed the trial court’s decision, arguing that the Commission’s evidence showed that it was more likely than not that the foul changed the race outcome, the Commission was not too deferential to the Stewards’ decision, and the trial court did not give the Commission proper deference to determine the credibility of witnesses. The primary issue for the Second Circuit to determine was whether Coalport’s foul actually changed the outcome of the race. 

pregnancy_belly_9_months-1024x685Imagine waking up one day and finding yourself out of a job simply because you are pregnant. This was the reality for Eryon Luke, as she claimed that her former employer, CPlace Forest Park SNF, LLC, fired her due to her pregnancy. This case, which attracted significant attention in legal circles, presents a deep dive into pregnancy discrimination lawsuits, exploring the application of state and federal laws and their impact on the employer-employee relationship.

Luke held a position as a Certified Nursing Assistant with Forest Park before her dismissal. Her employment was terminated during her maternity leave, which she contends was an act of discrimination by her employer. She asserted that Nottingham terminated her because she was pregnant, violating federal and Louisiana state laws.

To explain, under Louisiana law concerning unlawful employment practices, an employee with covered limitations, such as in this case, is allowed to take leave under any leave law or policy of the employer if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to the known limitations for medical needs arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. LA Rev Stat § 23:342. Luke also claimed that Nottingham refused her request for a temporary, less strenuous role during her pregnancy, which she argued was another unlawful employment practice.

larimer_sheriff_2014_chevrolet-1024x683Before accepting a job, it is essential to review all policies provided to you by your potential employer, as these policies may not always be in your best interest. The following East Baton Rouge case demonstrates what may or may not be considered a “wage” payable at the end of employment. 

Ely Boucher was terminated from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and was simultaneously provided with a copy of their Leave Policy. A provision to the Leave Policy stipulated that a certain amount of hours of paid-time-off leave were paid upon termination of employment. Subsequently, Boucher, who had over 914 paid-time-off leave hours, was paid for 300 hours per the policy provisions. Boucher then argued the Leave Policy violated La. R.S.23:631 and made a written demand on the Sheriff, for unpaid wages. When Boucher’s demand went unanswered, he filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff with the Nineteenth Judicial District Court. 

Boucher filed a motion seeking to exclude the testimony of the EBR Sheriff’s Human Resource Director concerning her interpretation of the Leave Policy. He argued the document was the best evidence of its contents. He also argued that the testimony should be excluded based on the contract interpretation laws. 

police_handcuffs_right_1072636-1024x680Imagine being wrongfully arrested and seeking justice for the harm caused. This was the situation for Joe Bridges III, Jordan M. Bridges, and Branden J. Herring, who filed a lawsuit for damages after an arrest on July 30, 2011. The plaintiffs initiated the lawsuit by filing a petition for damages on July 20, 2012. The defendants named in the petition included the Baton Rouge Police Department, the City of Baton Rouge, and several individual police officers.

The plaintiffs alleged their arrests were unjustified and had caused them harm, leading them to seek compensation for the damages incurred. They claimed the actions of the defendants, including the individual police officers, were responsible for their wrongful arrest and subsequent suffering.

In considering the appeal, the court had to apply the relevant rules and statutes. Of particular significance was La. C.C.P. art. 561. This article outlines the concept of abandonment and specifies the conditions under which a case may be dismissed. It requires parties to take steps in the prosecution or defense of an action within a three-year period to avoid abandonment. Clark v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 00-3010, pp. 5-6 (La. 5/15/01), 785 So. 2d 779, 784.

sunsets_family_happiness_beach-1024x683The challenges posed by mental and physical disabilities can place immense strain on families, particularly when the affected individual is unaware or unable to acknowledge their condition. When individuals face difficulties managing their health, personal matters, finances, and business affairs due to mental incapacity, they must take legal steps to protect their interests. During such trying times, the guidance of a skilled lawyer can alleviate some of the pain and stress that families experience. 

Stanton Lee Cadow faced just such a situation when his mother, America Jean Morris Metzler, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and, as a result, could no longer live independently, care for herself, or make sound personal and financial decisions. Her son, Cadow, thus sought a full interdiction to make legal decisions on her behalf. However, Metzler asserted her husband, John Metzler, Sr., was her power of attorney.

The proceedings began when Stanton filed a petition in 2014 seeking the interdiction of his mother, America Jean Morris Metzler, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Cadow alleged that his stepfather, John Metzler Sr., could not care for Metzler due to his health issues. Metzler contested the petition, asserting that Metzler, Sr., had a valid power of attorney and could act on her behalf. Initially, the trial court denied and dismissed Cadow’s claims without prejudice in 2015.

prison_fence_razor_ribbon_1-1024x768If you are considering filing a lawsuit, there are numerous procedural requirements with which you must comply. One of these requirements is that you file your lawsuit within the required period of time after the at-issue incident occurred. While the date you file your lawsuit is typically determined by the day the court receives your petition, the following case involves a special exception that applies to prisoners in certain situations. 

On January 5, 2014, Dale Brown was arrested by the police in Gretna, Louisiana, because they believed Brown was driving a vehicle involved in an armed robbery at a convenience store. While attempting to flee while being arrested, he was shot in the leg and bitten by one of the police dogs. Brown was subsequently convicted of armed robbery and aggravated flight from the police. 

While in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Brown filed a lawsuit accusing the police of assault, battery, and civil rights violations, including use of excessive force. He claimed he filed his lawsuit within the one-year requirement of La. C.C. art. 3492. He claimed he provided his petition to the prison officials to mail on December 30, 2014. However, the Court of Orleans Parish Civil District Court clerk stamped Brown’s petition as having been filed on January 13, 2015. 

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