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PI TOC and Samples

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									                Eason's
   Louisiana Personal Injury Law


            2005 Edition




Lawyers Research Publishing Company
           TELEPHONE (985) 624-9808
              FAX (985) 626-4200
                                                          INDEX

                                     Personal Injury Law
                                           Part I - Automobiles
CHAPTER 1 - Automobiles
          A. Duties of the Motorist
                     1. General Duties - Proper Lookout, Speed of Motorist ........................ 1
                     2. Rear-End Accidents & Following Motorist ......................................... 3
                     3. Changing Lanes & Wrong Lane of Traffic ........................................ 5
                     4. Favored/Inferior Roads & Entering Roadways .................................. 6
                     5. Intersections & Yellow/Red Flashing Lights ...................................... 8
                     6. Guest Passengers .......................................................................... 11
                     7. Passing ........................................................................................... 12
                     8. Emergency Vehicles ....................................................................... 12
                     9. Left Turning Motorist & U-Turns ..................................................... 14
                     10. Vicarious Liabilities, Negligent Entrustment, Unlicensed Operators....
.................................................................................................................................. 18
                     11. Sudden Emergency Doctrine ......................................................... 20
                     12. Children & Pedestrian Accidents .................................................. 21
                     13. The Unavoidable or Inevitable Accident Doctrine .......................... 23
                     14. Weather Conditions ....................................................................... 24
                     15. Unforeseeable & Sudden Loss of Consciousness Doctrine .......... 25
                     16. Vehicles Stopped in Road ............................................................. 25
                     17. Vehicles Backing Up ...................................................................... 26
                     18. Private Parking Lots ...................................................................... 26
                     19. Blood Alcohol Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
          B. Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist
                     1. Purpose & Generally ....................................................................... 27
                     2. Rejection of UM Coverage .............................................................. 31
                     3. Exemplary/Punitive Damages ......................................................... 33
                     4. Insurer's Duty .................................................................................. 33
                     5. Plaintiff's Burden of Proof ............................................................... 35
                     6. Subrogation by UM Carrier ............................................................. 35
                     7. Prescription ..................................................................................... 37
                     8. Public Policy ................................................................................... 38
                     9. Employees of Corporations/Political Entities .................................. 38
                     10. Stacking of UM Coverage .............................................................. 38
                     11. Miss and Run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
          C. Actions Against the State/Highway Department
                     1. Legal Theories & Limitation of Damages ........................................ 40
             2. Duties of the DOTD
                   A. Generally ............................................................................. 42
                   B. Shoulders ............................................................................ 45
                   C. Construction Areas ............................................................. 47
                   D. Design of Roadway ............................................................. 48
                   E. Lights, Signals, Control Devices .......................................... 50

    D. Punitive Damages
                 A. Intoxication - C.C. Art. 2315.4 ............................................. 52
                 B. Toxic Substances - C.C. Art. 2315.3 ................................... 54
    E. Loss of Use/Property Loss ....................................................................... 55
    F. Force of Impact ........................................................................................ 56
    G. Latent defects........................................................................................... 57
    H. Seat Belts ................................................................................................. 57

                                      Part II - Damages
CHAPTER 2 - General Damages
    A. General Damages
          1. Generally ........................................................................................ 59
          2. General Damages Awarded if Special Damages Awarded ............ 61
    B. Loss of Enjoyment of Life / Hedonic Damages ......................................... 62
    C. Pre-Existing Condition, Aggravation & Multiple Accidents ........................ 63
    D. Burden of Proof
          1. Generally ........................................................................................ 65
          2. Presumption of Disability ................................................................ 67
    E. Exemplary & Punitive................................................................................ 68
    F. Property Damages & Mental Anguish Therefrom ..................................... 70
    G. Household Expenses ............................................................................... 71
    H. Fear of Disease ........................................................................................ 71

CHAPTER 3 - Medical Expenses

    A. Generally .................................................................................................. 73
    B. Unneeded, Improper & Excessive Medical Care ...................................... 75
    C. Burden of Proof
          1. Past Medical Expenses .................................................................. 76
          2. Future Medical Expenses ............................................................... 77




CHAPTER 4 - Lost Wages & Loss of Earning Capacity
       A. Generally ................................................................................................... 81
       B. Pension & Fringe Benefits......................................................................... 84
       C. Burden of Proof
             1. Loss of Earning Capacity - Future Loss of Wages ......................... 85
             2. Past Wage Loss ............................................................................. 86
             3. Expert Testimony ............................................................................ 87
             4. Plaintiff's Own Testimony................................................................ 87
             5. Gross Wages vs. Net Wages ......................................................... 88
             6. Personal Living Expenses Deducted .............................................. 88
       D. Loss of Profits ........................................................................................... 88
       E. Federal ...................................................................................................... 90



CHAPTER 5 - Loss of Consortium

       A.   Generally, Definitions ................................................................................ 91
       B.   Loss of Consortium, Spouse ..................................................................... 93
       C.   Loss of Consortium, Family ...................................................................... 94
       D.   Loss of Consortium, Parent / Child ........................................................... 94

CHAPTER 6 - Collateral Source Rule......................................................... 97


                                         Part III - Defenses

CHAPTER 7 - Affirmative Defenses
       A.   Generally ................................................................................................. 103
       B.   Assumption of the Risk ........................................................................... 104
       C.   Unavoidable, Inevitable & Sudden Unconsciousness ............................. 105
       D.   Contributory Negligence ......................................................................... 105
       E.   Borrowed Servant ................................................................................... 106
       F.   Statutory Employer .................................................................................. 108
       G.   Equitable Estoppel .................................................................................. 111
       H.   Aggressor Doctrine ................................................................................. 112
       I.   Force Majeure, Act of God ...................................................................... 112

CHAPTER 8 - Contributory Negligence

       A. Generally, Joinder of Parties & Empty Chair ........................................... 115
       B. How to Compare the Fault ...................................................................... 117
       C. Burden of Proof ....................................................................................... 118
    D.   Examples of Contributory Negligence .................................................... 118
    E.   Age Factors ............................................................................................ 119
    F.   Release of a Joint Tortfeasor .................................................................. 120
    G.   Intentional Acts ...................................................................................... 121

CHAPTER 9 - Mitigation of Damages

    A.   Generally ................................................................................................ 123
    B.   Burden of Proof ...................................................................................... 125
    C.   Surgery - Must a Plaintiff Undergo? ....................................................... 125
    D.   Obesity ................................................................................................... 126


                                     Part IV - Insurance
CHAPTER 10 - Insurance

    A. Construction of Policies
           1. Generally ...................................................................................... 127
           2. Ambiguities, Interpretation of Policies .......................................... 130
           3. Exclusions, Endorsements & Limitations ..................................... 132
           4. Reformation of Policy ................................................................... 134
           5. Summary Judgments ................................................................... 135
           6. Renewal, Rewrite & Excess polices ............................................. 137
    B. Duty of Insurer
           1. Negotiations, Bad Faith & Penalties (R.S. 22:658 & 1220) ......... 138
           2. Burden of Insurer - Material Misrepresentation, Lack of Coverage144
           3. Excess Judgments ....................................................................... 145
           4. Waiver of Coverage Defenses & Asserting Coverage Defenses . 146
           5. Duty to Defend ............................................................................. 147
    C. Exemplary Damage Coverage ............................................................... 149
    D. Omnibus Insured .................................................................................... 149
    E. Named Driver Exclusion ......................................................................... 152
    F. Compulsory Vehicle Liability - No Pay, No Play ..................................... 153
    G. Lack of Driver’s License ......................................................................... 155
    H. Legal Interest .......................................................................................... 155
    I. Intentional Tort Exclusion ........................................................................ 155
    J. Surplus Lines Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156




                                       Part V - Maritime
CHAPTER 11 - General Maritime Law & Unseaworthiness
     A. Jurisdiction .............................................................................................. 157
     B. Duty - Torts & Negligence ....................................................................... 158
     C. Loss of Consortium, Punitive, Pecuniary/Non-Pecuniary
            1. Loss of Consortium ....................................................................... 160
            2. Damages/Punitive Damages ........................................................ 161
            3. Aggravation of Injuries .................................................................. 163
            4. Actions against Nonemployers ..................................................... 163
     D. Joint Tortfeasors, Settlement of one party ............................................... 163
     E. Unseaworthiness & Shipowner’s Duty ..................................................... 164
     F. Maintenance & Cure................................................................................. 168
     G. Death on the High Seas Act .................................................................... 172
     H. Louisiana Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act ....................................................... 173
     I. Limitation of Liability ................................................................................. 176
     J. Lost Wages, Legal Interest ...................................................................... 176
     K. Indemnity vs. Contribution ........................................................................ 177
     L. Products Liability ...................................................................................... 178

CHAPTER 12 - Jones Act - 46 U.S.C. §688

     A. Generally ................................................................................................. 179
     B. Status
           1. Generally ..................................................................................... 182
           2. Seaman’s Duties & Job Assignments .......................................... 185
           3. Jones Act v. Longshore Status .................................................... 188
           4. Summary Judgments ................................................................... 189
     C. What is a Vessel ..................................................................................... 190
     D. Burden of Proof ....................................................................................... 194
     E. Contributory Negligence ......................................................................... 196
     F. Pecuniary vs. Non-Pecuniary Damages .................................................. 197
     G. Miscellaneous
           1. Jury Trial ....................................................................................... 198
           2. Removal from State Court ............................................................ 199
           3. Emotional Injuries & Zone of Danger ............................................ 202
           4. Prejudgment & Legal Interest ....................................................... 202
           5. Lost Wages ................................................................................... 203
           6. Collateral Source Rule .................................................................. 204
           7. Appellate Review .......................................................................... 204
           8. Aggravation of an Injury ................................................................ 204
           9. Review of Damages ...................................................................... 205
           10. Products Liability .......................................................................... 205

CHAPTER 13 - Liability of a Vessel Owner Under 33 U.S.C. §905(b)

     A. Generally ................................................................................................. 209
     B. Status ...................................................................................................... 212
      C. Duty of Shipowner .................................................................................. 212
      D. Borrowed Servant (Employee) Doctrine ................................................. 216

CHAPTER 14 - Admiralty Jurisdiction

      A.   Generally ................................................................................................ 217
      B.   Miscellaneous ......................................................................................... 220
      C.   The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) .................................. 222
      D.   Admiralty Extension Act.......................................................................... 225
      E.   Maritime Contracts ................................................................................. 225
      F.   Right to a Jury Trial ................................................................................. 227
      G.   Savings to Suitors Clause ...................................................................... 227
      H.   Choice of Forum Clause ........................................................................ 228




                                            Part VI - Torts
CHAPTER 15 - Preponderance of the Evidence & Prima Facie ....... 229

CHAPTER 16 - Causation & Cause-In-Fact ............................................ 233

CHAPTER 17 - Negligence

      A. Generally, Definition .............................................................................. 237
      B. Duty Risk
             1. Generally, Definition & Gross Negligence .................................... 239
             2. Causation ..................................................................................... 240
             3. Duty & Unreasonable Risk of Harm ............................................. 241
      C. Res Ipsa Loquitor ................................................................................... 244
      D. Attractive Nuisance................................................................................. 245
      E. Increased Risk of Harm .......................................................................... 246
      F. Premises Liability
             1. Generally ...................................................................................... 246
             2. Acts of Third Persons ................................................................... 249
             3. Grocery, Self-Service & Department Stores ................................. 251
             4. Landowners .................................................................................. 255
             5. Hospitals ...................................................................................... 259
             6. Dock Owners ................................................................................ 259
             7. Sidewalks & Parking Lots ............................................................. 260
             8. Recreational Use Immunity .......................................................... 262
             9. Hotels & Innkeepers ..................................................................... 264
             10. Swimming Pools .......................................................................... 265
             11. Public Parks ................................................................................ 265
           12. Public Buildings ........................................................................... 265
     G. Examples of Duty
           1. Electricity ...................................................................................... 265
           2. Hiring Employees, Respondeat Superior ...................................... 267
           3. Professional & Gratuitous Rescuer, Fireman’s Rule ..................... 268
           4. Public Entities ............................................................................... 270
           5. Acts of Third Parties & Criminal Acts ............................................ 271
           6. Bicyclist ......................................................................................... 272
           7. Nursing Homes & Hospitals .......................................................... 273
           8. School Board, Teachers & Buses ................................................. 275
           9. Parental Responsibility & Supervisory Obligations ....................... 278
           10. Common Carriers ........................................................................ 279
           11. Sporting Activities ........................................................................ 280
           12. Right to Privacy ............................................................................ 280
           13. Insurance Agents & Brokers ........................................................ 281
           14. The Tort of Trespass ................................................................... 283
           15. Voluntary Undertaking ................................................................. 283
           16. Pharmacist ................................................................................... 284
           17. Railroads, Motor Vehicles & Pedestrians..................................... 284
           18. Sexual Diseases & Other Diseases ............................................. 287
           19. Police - Duty, Arrests, Excessive Force, Strip Searches & Traffic 288
           20. Pedestrians .................................................................................. 293
           21. Emergency Medical Service Technicians (EMT) ......................... 296
           22. Tortious Interference with Contract .............................................. 296
           23. Abuse of Rights ........................................................................... 297
           24. Dram Shop & Alcohol Providers .................................................. 297
           25. Public Utility Repairs .................................................................... 299
           26. Elevators ...................................................................................... 299
           27. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress..................................... 299
           28. OSHA........................................................................................... 300
           29. Contractors & Construction Plans ................................................ 300
           30. Weapons, dangerous instrumentalities....................................... 301
           31. Restaurants ................................................................................ 301
           32. Physical Therapists ..................................................................... 302
           33. Drug Manufacturers .................................................................... 303
           34. Professional Consultant .............................................................. 303
           35. Real Estate Brokers .................................................................... 303
           36. Fairs & Festivals ......................................................................... 303
     H. Indemnification Contracts ....................................................................... 304

CHAPTER 18 - Strict Liability

     A. Generally ................................................................................................. 309
     B. Civil Code Article 2317.1 ......................................................................... 309
           1. Defect ........................................................................................... 311
           2. Custody......................................................................................... 312
       C.   Civil Code Article 2322 - Building Ruin ................................................... 313
       D.   Civil Code Article 2321 - Animals ........................................................... 314
       E.   Defenses ................................................................................................ 315
       F.   Ultrahazardous Activities ........................................................................ 316

CHAPTER 19 - Intentional Torts

       A. Generally & Definitions ........................................................................... 317
       B. Assault & Battery .................................................................................... 320
       C. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress .............................................. 321

CHAPTER 20 - Medical Malpractice .......................................................... 323

CHAPTER 21 - Mental Anguish

       A.   Generally ................................................................................................ 329
       B.   Mental Anguish Due to Injuries to Third Persons ................................... 330
       C.   Property .................................................................................................. 332
       D.   Inconvenience ........................................................................................ 333
       E.   Breach of Contract .................................................................................. 333
       F.   Assault & Battery .................................................................................... 334
       G.   Eviction ................................................................................................... 334
       H.   Redhibition ............................................................................................. 334
       I.   Pecuniary Loss ...................................................................................... 334
       J.   Pre-Impact Anguish ................................................................................ 334
       K.   Zone of Danger....................................................................................... 334

CHAPTER 22 - Products Liability

       A. Law ......................................................................................................... 335
       B. Actions Against Manufacturers
             1. Generally ....................................................................................... 335
             2. Construction and Design ............................................................... 336
             3. Warnings by Manufacturer ............................................................ 337
             4. Reasonably Anticipated Use ......................................................... 339
             5. Intervening Causes and Defenses ................................................ 341
       C. Sellers .................................................................................................... 341
       D. Old Products Liability Law ...................................................................... 342

CHAPTER 23 - Wrongful Death

       A. Elements & Definitions of a Wrongful Death Claim ............................... 343
       B. Classes of Beneficiaries ......................................................................... 345
       C. Damages ................................................................................................ 347
CHAPTER 24 - Survival

     A. Generally ................................................................................................. 351
     B. Burden of Proof ...................................................................................... 353

CHAPTER 25 - Other Torts & Doctrines

     A. Invasion of & Right to Privacy ................................................................. 355
     B. Defamation .............................................................................................. 356
     C. Malicious Prosecution ............................................................................. 359
     D. False Arrest & False Imprisonment ......................................................... 360
     E. Unjust Enrichment ................................................................................... 362
     F. Negligent Misinformation ......................................................................... 362
     G. Continuous Torts .................................................................................... 363
     H. Legal Malpractice .................................................................................... 365
     I. Fraud ....................................................................................................... 368
     J. Negligent Misrepresentation ................................................................... 369
     K. Abuse of Rights ....................................................................................... 369
     L. Conspiracy............................................................................................... 370
     M. Spoliation of Evidence ............................................................................ 370
     O. Federal Employers Liability Actions (FELA) ............................................ 371
     P. Choice of Law Provisions ........................................................................ 372

                           Part VII - Vicarious Liability
CHAPTER 26 - Vicarious Liability

     A.   Generally ................................................................................................. 373
     B.   Factors Which Impose Liability ............................................................... 376
     C.   To and From Work .................................................................................. 378
     D.   Borrowed & Loaned Employees ............................................................. 380
     E.   Intentional Acts ....................................................................................... 381
     F.   Independent Contractor .......................................................................... 383

                                      Part VIII - Lagniappe
CHAPTER 27 - Summary Judgment

     A.   Generally ................................................................................................. 387
     B.   Affidavits, Content of Motion ................................................................... 390
     C.   Favored ................................................................................................... 393
     D.   Not Favored ............................................................................................ 395
     E.   Motions for Partial Summary Judgment .................................................. 396
     F.   Appellate Review of Summary Judgments .............................................. 397
     G. Federal .................................................................................................. 397

CHAPTER 28 - Appellate Review

     A.   Jurisdiction & Purpose ............................................................................ 401
     B.   Review of Facts, Liability & Causation .................................................... 401
     C.   Review of Law & No Cause of Action ..................................................... 405
     D.   Review of Damages ............................................................................... 405
             1. General Damage Awards ............................................................. 405
             2. Special Damages ......................................................................... 407
             3. Lump Sum Judgments ................................................................. 408
             4. Exemplary Damages .................................................................... 409
     E.    Law of the Case Doctrine ...................................................................... 410
     F.   Review of Summary Judgment .............................................................. 411
     G.    Review of Evidentiary Rulings ............................................................... 411
     H.    Review of Jury Instructions .................................................................... 412
     I.   Review of a JNOV, Involuntary Dismissal & New Trial ......................... 412
     J.    Review of the Credibility of Witnesses & Experts .................................. 414
     K.    Review of Costs Assessment & Sanctions ............................................ 415
     L.   Remand of a Decision & Appellees Failure to Answer ........................... 415
     M.   Frivolous Appeals................................................................................... 416
     N.    Change in Law Pending Appeal ........................................................... 417
     O.    Review of New Trial Decisions .............................................................. 417
     P.    Review of Default Judgments ................................................................ 417
     Q.    Review of Directed Verdict .................................................................... 418
     R.    Review of Partial Judgment ................................................................... 418
     S.    Review of Comparative Fault................................................................. 418
     T.   Review of Prescription Ruling ................................................................ 419
     U.    Federal .................................................................................................. 419

CHAPTER 29 - Trials - The Role of the Judge

     A. Before Trial
           1. Discovery & Sanctions ................................................................. 421
           2. Pre-Trial Conferences, Pre-Trial Order & Stipulations ................. 424
           3. Right to Jury Trial ......................................................................... 426
           4. Abandonment ............................................................................... 426
           5. Motion to Continue ....................................................................... 429
     B. During Trial
           1. Conduct of the Trial ...................................................................... 429
           2. Directed Verdicts & Involuntary Dismissals .................................. 430
           3. Mistrials ........................................................................................ 431
           4. Jury Selection & Behavior ............................................................ 432
           5. Jury Instructions & Jury Verdict Form ........................................... 435
           6. Bifurcation .................................................................................... 436
           7. Expert Witnesses ......................................................................... 437
              8. Witness Credibility ........................................................................ 442
              9. New Statutes, Prospective vs. Retroactive ................................... 442
              10. Amendments to Pleadings .......................................................... 444
              11. Statutory Interpretation ................................................................ 444
         C. Post-Trial
              1. Judgments & Amendments ........................................................... 446
              2. Additur & Remittitur....................................................................... 447
              3. JNOV & New Trial ......................................................................... 448
              4. Assessing Costs & Fees ............................................................... 451
              5. Sanctions of C.C.P. Art. 863 ......................................................... 454
              6. Additional Evidence ...................................................................... 455

Appendix A- The Americans with Disabilities Act................................ 457

Appendix B - Interrogatories to the Jury .................................................. 461

INDEX ................................................................................................................... 467
                                     SAMPLE PAGES


CHAPTER 2 (A) - GENERAL DAMAGES & SPECIAL DAMAGES

        The term “damages” refers to pecuniary compensation, recompense or satisfaction for an
injury sustained. The most common type of damages in the delictual context is compensatory
damages, which encompasses those damages designed to place the plaintiff in the position in
which he would have been if the tort had not been committed.
        Compensatory damages are further divided into the broad categories of special damages
and general damages. Special damages are those which either must be specially pled or have a
ready market value, i.e., the amount of the damages supposedly can be determined with relative
certainty. Included under the heading of special damages are the plaintiff’s medical expenses
incurred as a result of the tort. On the other hand, general damages are those which are
inherently speculative in nature and cannot be fixed with mathematical certainty. Those include
pain and suffering. Wainwright v. Fontenot, 00-0492 (La. 10/17/00), 774 So.2d 70.

         General damages are those which may not be fixed with pecuniary exactitude; instead
they involve mental or physical pain or suffering, inconvenience, the loss of intellectual
gratification or physical enjoyment, or other losses of life or lifestyle which cannot be definitively
measured in monetary terms. Duncan v. Kansas City Southern Railway Co., 00-0066 (La.
11/03/00), 773 So.2d 670; Taylor v. State Farm, 01-0317 (La. App. 3 Cir. 10/03/01); Day v.
Ouachita Parish School Bd. 35,831 (La.App. 2 Cir. 8/8/02), 823 So.2d 1039.

        General damages are described in the Louisiana Supreme Court's opinion in Duncan v.
Kansas City Southern Railway Co., 00-0066, (La. 10/30/00), 773 So.2d 670, 682, cert.
dismissed, 532 U.S. 992. 121 S.Ct. 1651 (2001), as: [T]hose which may not be fixed with
pecuniary exactitude; instead, they "involve mental or physical pain or suffering, inconvenience,
the loss of intellectual gratification or physical enjoyment, or other losses of life or life-style which
cannot be definitely measured in monetary terms." Vast discretion is accorded the trier of fact in
fixing general damage awards. La.Civ. Code art. 2324.1. In Youn v. Maritime Overseas Corp.,
623 So.2d 1257 (La. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1114, 114 S.Ct. 1059 (1994), the supreme
court enunciated its general disapproval of the practice of comparing the present award to past
awards in efforts to determine whether the present award was the product of the factfinder's
abuse of discretion. Instead, the supreme court stated: The initial inquiry is whether the award for
the particular injuries and their effects under the particular circumstances on the particular injured
person is a clear abuse of the "much discretion" of the trier of fact. Only after such a
determination of an abuse of discretion is a resort to prior awards appropriate and then for the
purpose of determining the highest or lowest point which is reasonably within that discretion.
Scott v. Roberts, 2003-435 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/1/03), 856 So.2d 1258 citing, among others, Coco
v. Winston Industries, Inc., 341 So.2d 332 (La. 1976); Bitoun v. Landry, 302 So.2d 278 (La.
1974); Spillers v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 294 So.2d 803 (La. 1974). Youn, 623 So.2d at 1260-
61.
CHAPTER 17 (F) (2) NEGLIGENCE - ACTS OF A THIRD PERSON

        In general, the owner or operator of a facility has the duty of exercising reasonable care
for the safety of persons on his premises and the duty of not exposing such persons to
unreasonable risks of injury or harm. A business establishment is under a duty to take
reasonable care for the safety of its patrons, but is not the insurer of their safety. This duty does
not extend to unforeseeable or unanticipated criminal acts by independent third persons. When
a duty to protect others against criminal misconduct has been assumed, liability may be created
by a negligent breach of that duty. Whether a defendant has breached a duty is a question of
fact. Peterson v. Gibraltar Savings & Loan, 98-1601 (La. 5/18/99); 733 So.2d 1198.

       A business establishment is under a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of its
patrons but it is not the insurer of their safety. This duty does not extend to unforeseeable or
unanticipated criminal acts by independent third persons. Only when the owner, management or
employees of a business have or should have knowledge of a third person’s intended injurious
conduct that is about to occur and which is within the power of the owner, management or
employees to protect against, does the duty arise. Eason v. Finch, 32,157 (La. App. 2 Cir.
8/18/99); 738 So.2d 1205.

         While the proprietor of a public place is not the guarantor of his patrons’ safety, he owes
them a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect them from harm at the hands of a fellow-guest
or at the hands of his employees; such a proprietor owes a duty to guests to protect them from
insult, annoyance and danger, and his guests have a right to rely on the belief they are in an
orderly house and are protected from injury by the exercise of reasonable care for their safety by
the operator of the establishment or his representative. Turley v. Straughan, 96-2607, (La.App.
4th Cir. 4/30/97); 694 So.2d 532 citing Anderson v. Clements, 284 So.2d 341 (La.App. 4th Cir.
1973). That duty does not extend to the unforeseeable or unanticipated criminal acts of an
independent third person. The owner’s duty to protect arises when he has or can be imputed
with knowledged of the third person’s intended conduct. The duty can be discharged by
summoning the police at that time. Turley, supra.

        The operator of a public park does not necessarily have the same duty with regard to a
third-party criminal conduct as does the proprietor of a business. The duty owed by an owner or
occupier of land must be ascertained by examining the particular facts . . . In the same vein, the
operator of a large, open public park may owe a lesser duty to protect against criminal activity
than would the proprietor of a business, which is conducted in a confined space and from which
the proprietor derives revenue. This court has stated that the maintenance and operation of its
public parks, playgrounds and recreational areas, a city-parish owes a duty commensurate with
ordinary and reasonable care under the circumstances. Therefore, we must use a reasonable
person standard to determine whether the threat of fights at the park constituted an
unreasonable danger of injury to park patrons. Colson v. Johnson, 01-967 (La. App. 3 Cir.
12/12/01), 801 So.2d 648.

        A business which is negligent in providing security or which provides inadequate security
is responsible for damages suffered by its patrons as a result. Romaguera v. Picadilly
Cafeterias, Inc., 94-374 (La. App. 5 Cir. 12/14/94); 648 So.2d 1000.

       Although a duty to protect exists for some businesses based upon a "unique relationship"
wherein patrons entrusted welfare to their hosts, this court has recognized only hotels, hospitals,
and common carriers have such a relationship. Kenney v. Cox, 94-1110 (La. App. 4 Cir.
12/15/94); 649 So.2d 15.
CHAPTER 25 (H) - LEGAL MALPRACTICE

        To establish a claim for legal malpractice, a plaintiff must prove: 1) the existence of an
attorney-client relationship; 2) negligent representation by the attorney; and 3) loss caused by
that negligence. A plaintiff can have no greater rights against attorneys for the negligent
handling of a claim than are available in the underlying claim. Costello v. Hardy, 2003-499 (La.
1/9/04), 864 So.2d 129.

         There are three elements to a legal malpractice claim; (1) the existence of an attorney-
client relationship, (2) negligent representation by the attorney, and (3) loss to the client caused
by that negligence. The existence of an attorney-client relationship turns largely on the client’s
subjective belief that it exist. The absence of a signed employment agreement, alone, is
insufficient to defeat a claim that the relationship exists. Francois v. Reed, 97 1328 (La.App. 1
Cir. 5/15/98); 714 So.2d 228.

         To prove a claim for legal malpractice, a plaintiff must prove; (1) there was an attorney-
client relationship; (2) the attorney was negligent; and (3) that negligence caused plaintiff some
loss. Couture v. Guillory, 97-2796, (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/15/98); 713 So.2d 528; Sunset Ins. Co. v.
Gomila, 99-560 (La. App. 5 Cir. 2/29/00); 757 So.2d 82.

          To prove a claim for legal malpractice, a plaintiff must prove: (1) there was an attorney-
client relationship; (2) the attorney was negligent; and (3) that negligence caused plaintiff some
loss. Spellman v. Bizal, et al., 99-0723, (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/1/00), 755 So.2d 1013 quoting Couture
v. Guillory, 97-2796 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/15/98), 713 So.2d 528 quoting Scott v. Thomas, 543 So.2d
494 (La.App. 4th Cir. 1989)). However, once the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case for
attorney malpractice, the burden then shifts to the defendant attorney to prove that the litigation
would not have been successful even if [sic] he had not negligently handled the plaintiff's case.
Restrepo v. King, Jr. 569 So.2d 92 (La.App. 4th Cir. 1990) citing Drury v. Fawer, 527 So.2d 423,
424 (La.App. 4th Cir, 1988).
          In Jenkins v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., et al., 422 So.2d 1109 (La. 1982), the
Supreme Court of Louisiana held that the third element, the plaintiff's damage was a result of the
defendant attorney's negligence, can be inferred in some cases where the attorney's action of
simply entering into the "attorney-client" relationship provides a small threshold of proof that there
was some amount of damages sought to be recovered by the plaintiff via the skill of the attorney.
Jenkins, supra, 422 So.2d 1109 (La. 1982). In Jenkins, a legal malpractice action was brought
against plaintiff's former attorneys, who allegedly allowed prescription to run before filing suit on
plaintiff's claim for damages for personal injuries sustained in a truck collision. The court held:
once the client has proved that his former attorney accepted employment and failed to assert the
claim timely, then the client has established a prima facie case that the attorney's negligence
caused him some loss, since it is unlikely the attorney would have agreed to handle a claim
completely devoid of merit . . . The more logical approach is to impose on the negligent attorney,
at this point in the trial, the burden of going forward with evidence to overcome the client's prima
facie case by proving that the client could not have succeeded on the original claim, and the
causation and damage questions are then up to the jury to decide. Id. at 1110.
          Jenkins does not dispose of the plaintiff's burden in proving all three prongs required in a
legal malpractice suit. The court reasoned: when the plaintiff proves that negligence on the part
of his former attorney has caused the loss of the opportunity to assert a claim and thus
establishes the inference of causation of damages resulting from the loss opportunity for
recovery, an appellate court must determine whether the negligent attorney met his burden of
producing sufficient proof to overcome plaintiff's prima facie case. Id. at 1110. The inference of
causation of damages can easily be made in cases where the attorney enters into a
"relationship" with a client on the premise that the client has a valid cause of action, or on a
contingency fee basis. However, this inference is not automatic in all legal malpractice cases, it
must be proven that the defendant — attorney's negligence caused the client a loss of the
opportunity to assert a claim. Furthermore, the inference only assists the plaintiff in establishing
that something of value was lost, provided that the other two prongs have been met. Spellman v.
Bizal, et al., 99-0723 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/1/00), 755 So.2d 1013.
         In no other agency relationship is a greater duty of trust imposed than in that involving an
attorney's duty to his client. Abshire v. National Union Fire Insurance Co., et al., 636 So.2d 226
(La.App. 3rd Cir. 1993) citing Plaquemines Par. Com'n Council v. Delta Dev., 502 So.2d 1034
(La. 1987). An attorney is obligated to exercise that degree of care, skill, and diligence, which is
exercised by prudent practicing attorneys in his locality. Id. at 231. Lawyers are obligated to
scrutinize any contract which they advise their clients to execute, and are required to disclose the
full import of the instrument and the possible consequences that may arise upon execution of it.
Id. at 231. The proper method of determining whether an attorney's malpractice is a cause in fact
of damage to his client, is to assess whether the performance of that act would have prevented
the damage. See Broadscape.com, Inc. v. Walker, 2003-0904 (La.App. 4 Cir 2/25/04), 866
So.2d 1085.



CHAPTER 28 (B) - APPELLATE REVIEW - Review of Facts, Liability &
Causation

        A court of appeal may not set aside a trial court's finding of fact in the absence of
manifest error or unless it is clearly wrong. . . Under the manifest error standard, in order to
reverse a trial court's determination of a fact, an appellate court must review the record in its
entirety and (1) find that a reasonable factual basis does not exist for the finding, and (2) further
determine that the record establishes that the fact finder is clearly wrong or manifestly erroneous.
 On review, an appellate court must be cautious not to re-weigh the evidence or to substitute its
own factual findings just because it would have decided the case differently. [T]he reviewing
court must give great weight to factual conclusions of the trier of fact; where there is conflict in
the testimony, reasonable evaluations of credibility and reasonable inferences of fact should not
be disturbed upon review, even though the appellate court may feel that its own evaluations and
inferences are as reasonable. The reason for this well-settled principle of review is based not
only upon the trial court's better capacity to evaluate live witnesses (as compared with the
appellate court's access only to a cold record), but also upon the proper allocation of trial and
appellate functions between the respective courts. (Emphasis added.)
        However, this Court clarified in Ambrose v. New Orleans Police Dept. Ambulance Serice,
 93-3099 (La. 7/5/94), 639 So.2d 216 that our purpose in Stobart v. State through Dept. Of
Transp. and Development, 617 So.2d 880 (La. 1993) was not "to mandate that the trial court's
factual determinations cannot ever, or hardly ever, be upset." Perkins v. Entergy Corp., 00-1372
(La. 3/23/01), 782 So.2d 606 at 613 (citing Ambrose, 639 So.2d at 221). Recognizing that great
deference should be accorded to the fact finder, the court of appeal and this Court have a
constitutional duty to review facts. Id. To perform its constitutional duty properly, an appellate
court must determine whether the trial court's conclusions were clearly wrong based on the
evidence or clearly without evidentiary support. Id. That being said, we reiterate that when two
permissible views of the evidence exist, the fact finder's choice between them cannot be
manifestly erroneous or clearly wrong. Bonin v. Ferrellgas, Inc., 2003-3024 (La. 7/2/04), 877
So.2d 89.

        In applying the manifest error standard of review to the factfinder's allocation of fault in
Watson v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Ins. Co., 469 So.2d 967, 974 (La. 1985), this court stated
as follows: In determining the percentages of fault, the trier of fact shall consider both the nature
of the conduct of each party at fault and the extent of the causal relation between the conduct
and the damages claimed. In assessing the nature of the conduct of the parties, various factors
may influence the degree of fault assigned, including: (1) whether the conduct resulted from
inadvertence or involved an awareness of the danger, (2) how great a risk was created by the
conduct, (3) the significance of what was sought by the conduct, (4) the capacities of the actor,
whether superior or inferior, and (5) any extenuating circumstances which might require the actor
to proceed in haste, without proper thought. And, of course, as evidenced by concepts such as
last clear chance, the relationship between fault/negligent conduct and the harm to the plaintiff
are considerations in determining the relative fault of the parties. Totson v. Pardon, 2003-1747
(La. 4/23/04), 874 So.2d 791.

         The Court of Appeal should not set aside the factual findings of a trial court absent
manifest error or unless clearly wrong. However, if a Court of Appeal finds that the trial court
committed a reversible error of law or manifest error of fact, the Court of Appeal must ascertain
the facts de novo from the record and render a judgment on the merits. Although appellate
courts should accord deference to the factfinder, they nonetheless have a constitutional duty to
review facts. Because appellate court must perform this constitutional function, they have every
right to determine whether the trial court verdict was clearly wrong based on the evidence or
clearly without evidentiary support. The reviewing court must do more than simply review the
record for some evidence which supports or controverts the trial court’s findings; it must instead
review the record in its entirety to determine whether the trial court’s finding was clearly wrong or
manifestly erroneous. The issue to be resolved by a reviewing court is not whether the trier of
fact was right or wrong, but whether the factfinder’s conclusion was reasonable. We have
previously emphasized the principle that if the trial court or jury’s findings are reasonable in light
of the record reviewed in its entirety, the Court of Appeal may not reverse, even if convinced that
had it been sitting as a trier of fact, it would have weighed the evidence differently. Bonnette v.
Conoco, Inc., 2001-2767 (La. 1/28/03), 837 So.2d 1219.




CHAPTER 12 (A) - JONES ACT - Generally

       The Jones Act provides that any seaman who shall suffer personal injury in a course of
his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law. 46 U.S.C. § 688.

       A Jones Act cause of action may be invoked only by a seaman and may be asserted only
against the seaman’s employer. Actions by seamen against non-employers may be brought
under the general maritime law and are predicated on tortious conduct such as negligence.
Warren v. Sabine Towing & Transportation Company, 01-0573 (La. App. 3 Cir. 10/30/02), 831
So.2d 517.

       The Jones Act provides a cause of action permitting unlimited damages against the
negligence of a plaintiff’s employer. . . . A Jones Act seamen may also sue the owner of any
vessel on which he is working for a breach of the warranty of seaworthiness, regardless of
whether the vessel is owned by his employer. Finally, a Jones Act seamen may also sue third
parties for general maritime law negligence. Becker v. Tidewater, Inc., 335 F.3d 376 (5th Cir.
2003).

        For a seaman to recover under the Jones Act, he must have been acting within the
course and scope of his employment at the time of his alleged injury. Robair v. Penrod Drilling
Corp., 98-0222 (La. App. 4 Cir. 10/7/98); 720 So.2d 130.

        The Jones Act provides a cause of action in negligence for a seaman injured in the
course of his employment against his maritime employer. The Jones Act contains a liberal
causation requirement. A seaman is entitled to recover if the employer’s negligence played any
part, even the slightest, in producing the injury. Under the Jones Act, both the employer and the
seaman are obligated to act with ordinary prudence under the circumstances. Jenkins v. Sonat
Offshore U.S.A., Inc., 96 2504 (La.App. 1 Cir. 12/29/97); 705 So.2d 1184 citing Gautreaux v.
Scurlock Marine, Inc., 107 Fd.3d 331 (5th Cir. 1997).

       Under the Jones Act, the seaman is provided a cause of action against his employer for
damages he has suffered in the course of his employment as a seaman. The action is only
against his employer. The general principles of negligence apply to the determination of
maritime negligence. Foster v. Destin Trading Corp., 95-226 (La. App. 5th Cir. 2/27/96), 670 So.
2d 1342.

        It is possible for a seaman to have more than one Jones Act employer. An employer who
issues checks and who maintains some control over the employee will generally be a Jones Act
employer without more, but a seaman can also prove that some other person has sufficient
control over him or sufficient connexity with his employment, to be treated as an additional
employer. Guillie v. Marine Towing, Inc., 95-355 (La. App. 5th Cir. 2/14/96), 670 So. 2d 1298
citing Guidry v. S. Louisiana Contractors, Inc., 614 F.2d 447 (5th Cir. 1980).

          Under the Jones Act, the seaman is provided a cause of action against his employer for
damages he has suffered in the course of his employment as a seaman. The action is only
against his employer. The general principles of negligence apply to the determination of
maritime negligence. The Jones Act employer is deemed negligent if he fails to exercise
reasonable care to maintain a reasonably safe work environment. The burden of proof of Jones
Act negligence is feather light and only the slightest degree of negligence is sufficient to impose
liability on the Jones Act employer. Olivier v. Best Workover, Inc., 94-994 (La. App. 5th Cir.
1/30/96), 669 So. 2d 476.

        Comparative negligence applies to reduce a seaman’s recovery on a Jones Act claim and
an unseaworthiness claim. Milstead v. Diamond M Offshore, Inc., 94-1582 (La. App. 3rd Cir.
9/6/95), 663 So. 2d 137 citing Miles v. Melrose, 882 F.2d 976 (5th Cir. 1989), affirmed, 498 U.S.
19, 111 S.Ct. 317, 112 L.Ed.2d 275 (1990).

       A Jones Act employer is charged with a duty to exercise care to provide a reasonably
safe work environment; to supervise an instruct seaman about safe methods that they can
employ in carrying out their duties; and to provide adequate and proper equipment. Milstead v.
Diamond M Offshore, Inc., 94-1582 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 9/6/95), 663 So. 2d 137 citing Ceja v. Mike
Hooks, Inc., 690 F.2d 1191 (5th Cir. 1982).

       The fundamental duty of a Jones Act employer is to provide his seamen employees with a
reasonably safe place to work. A Jones Act employer’s duty to provide a reasonably safe place
to work is absolute and non-delegable. This duty applies whether the employee is the owner of
the vessel, or, the owner pro hac vice. A cause of action under the Jones Act arises when this
duty is breached.

        While Jones Act employer’s duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work is broad in
scope, it is not a form of strict liability. Fault is required. However, the employer must have
actual or constructive notice of the unsafe condition and an opportunity to correct it before liability
attaches. A Jones Act employer is liable for the negligence of any of its employees. Daigle v.
L&L Marine Trans. Company, 322 F.Supp.2d 717 (E.D. La. 2004).

								
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