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Prescription and service of process - in Theriot, First Circuit pushes Pullin

For the second time in less than two months the First Circuit held that plaintiff consent to dismissal under La. C.C.P. art. 1672 for failure to request service within 90 days is not a voluntary dismissal for purposes of prescription. See, Theriot v. Archer, 2017-1304 (La.App. 1 Cir. 04/30/18); citing with approval Pullin v. Chauvin, 2017-1292 (La.App. 1 Cir. 03/15/18).

In both cases defendants obtained plaintiffs' consent to judgments on exceptions of insufficiency of service of process and dismissal without prejudice as provided in La. C.C.P. art. 1672(C) for failure to comply with the requirements of La. C.C.P. 1201(C).

Two panels of the First Circuit have now concluded without dissent that this scenario does not trigger Civil Code article 3463 which provides, in relevant part, that "[i]nterruption is considered never to have occurred if the plaintiff abandons, voluntarily dismisses the action... ."

Posted: May 3, 2018

Civilian law for common dummies

Being a common lawyer, it never got taught to me how this whole rejection of stare decisis thing actually works. So it was that I were mighty pleased the see the following quote in Blanchard v. Hicks, 2017-1045 (La.App. 3 Cir. 05/02/18):

Under the civilian tradition, while a single decision is not binding on our courts, when a series of decisions form a “constant stream of uniform and homogenous rulings having the same reasoning,” jurisprudence constante applies and operates with “considerable persuasive authority.” James L. Dennis, Interpretation and Application of the Civil Code and the Evaluation of Judicial Precedent, 54 La. L.Rev. 1, 15 (1993). Because of the fact that “one of the fundamental rules of [the civil law tradition] is that a tribunal is never bound by the decisions which it formerly rendered: it can always change its mind,” 1 Marcel Planiol, Treatise on the Civil Law § 123, (La. State Law Inst. trans.1959) (12th ed.1939), prior holdings by this court are persuasive, not authoritative, expressions of the law. See Yiannopoulos, supra, at § 35, p. 54. Thus, it is only when courts consistently recognize a longstanding rule of law outside of legislative expression that the rule of law will become part of Louisiana's custom under Civil Code article 3 and be enforced as the law of the state. See La.Civ.Code art. 3.

Having cleared that up, I'll admit that my operating assumption has always been that if you're quoting Planiol, you're either really smart, or you're gonna lose. Or both.

Posted: May 2, 2018

"Library of the Future" shuts down present day 19th JDC

Unexpected settlement in the construction of the Baton Rouge downtown River Center library forced the Wednesday, April 18 closure of City Hall and the 19th JDC. From the Advocate, Barriers up, some businesses evacuated after construction issues reported at downtown library.

Posted: April 18, 2018

$11M CDC jury verdict - single level lumbar fusion and PTSD

Lataria Duplessis, a 38 year-old single mother of three and garbage truck driver, was badly hurt in a head on collision with another truck. Most seriously, she suffered a lumbar injury requiring single level fusion and psychological damages treated with a psychiatrist.

Ms. Duplessis' case was tried in New Orleans Civil District Court and a jury returned its verdict in her favor on April 10, 2018, awarding total damages of $11,003,576.26. See Duplessis v. Turner, 2015-4256 (Civil District Court 04/10/18).

Posted: April 12, 2018

Sacroillitis: $370,000 general damages

In Alexandria a few years ago, Alfred Mansour ran his Chevy Suburban into Laura Jolly’s Ford Expedition. She reported no immediate pain, but soon began treating for complaints diagnosed as a sacroiliac injury. Ms. Jolly received an SI injection 11 months after her accident and last saw a physician four months later.

A 9th JDC jury awarded $370,000 general damages, $11,502.40 past medicals and $5,000 future medicals. See, Jolly v. AIG Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 251,996 (9th JDC 08/08/17.)

Posted: April 11, 2018

The difference between Jim Brown and Noor Salman

In 2000, former Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown was convicted of lying in interviews with the FBI. The interviews were not recorded. His conviction rested on testimony of agents based on their recollections supported by contemporaneous notes.

In 2018, Noor Salaman, the widow of Pulse Nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, was acquitted of aiding and abetting the attack. The jury foreman issued the following statement to the Orlando Sentinel:

... A verdict of not guilty did NOT mean that we thought Noor Salman was unaware of what Omar Mateen was planning to do. On the contrary we were convinced she did know. She may not have known what day, or what location, but she knew. However, we were not tasked with deciding if she was aware of a potential attack. The charges were aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice. I felt the both the prosecution and the defense did an excellent job presenting their case. I wish that the FBI had recorded their interviews with Ms. Salman as there were several significant inconsistencies with the written summaries of her statements. ...

See, "Foreman: Jury 'convinced' Noor Salman knew Mateen was plotting attack, but couldn't convict".

Posted: March 31, 2018

Acadiana quantum - all's not quiet in the Western District

For a court without judges, the Western District's Lafayette Division has been an active source of quantum news early in 2018. Two jury trials resulted in seven figure general damage awards six weeks apart.

January ended with the trial of Hale v. Wood Group PSN, Inc., 6:15-cv-01803 (USDC-WDLA 01/30/18), in which the plaintiff was awarded general damages of $2,225,000 ($3,239,000 total damages) for major cervical, thoracic and lumbar injuries. While high, the award is not inconsistent with results in cases with similar severity of spine injuries.

Then in March, a jury's award for comminuted wrist fracture treated with multiple surgeries, including fusion, included $1,050,000 for general damages. Bayard v. Cameron, Inc., 6:13-cv-01536 (USDC-WDLA 03/12/18). The total award was $4,271,300. The result far exceeds any other single primary injury case involving the wrist in CompQuantum's database.

Posted: March 20, 2018

A Surprise Party in Amsterdam

My step-daughter lives in Amsterdam. We showed up for her 30th birthday unannounced. She had no idea ...


Morgan is a tour guide. She managed to bring us to the best cheese shop, restaurants, boat ride, and view of the Rijksmuseum (below). You can still see the last ice on the canal after an exceptionally cold beginning of March. We also visited a "Coffeeshop" featured in Oceans 12 - briefly and without making a purchase. Morgan wasn't saying if she spent more time there on other visits.

Posted: March 6, 2018

Another decretal delay (2) - READ THIS POST

If I accomplish one thing with this blog, I hope the words of Judger Sabrina Jenkins save a CompQuantum subscriber several months of needless delay for lack of decretal language in a judgment on appeal.

So, after reading Bernard v. Ace Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 2018-0042 (La.App. 3 Cir. 02/28/18), Unpublished, I've made "Decretal language" a searchable case type and am adding another post to what has become the first regular series in the LAw Blog's history. For the earlier posts, see Decretal language - what appellate judges want you to know and Another decretal delay.

If you appeal (or take a writ from) a judgment lacking decretal language, a lot of time will be wasted. See my first blog post if you don't know why and/or are not familiar with the issue.

Quoting Judge Jenkins again:

Importantly, in order for the language of a judgment to be considered "decretal" it "must name the party in favor of whom the ruling is ordered, the party against whom the ruling is ordered, and the relief that is granted or denied." Mid City Holdings, 14-0506 at p. 3, 151 So. 3d at 910 (citations omitted). Furthermore, "'The specific relief granted should be determinable from the judgment without reference to an extrinsic source such as pleadings or reasons for judgment.'" Bd. of Supervisors of Louisiana State Univ. v. Mid City Holdings, L.L.C., 14-0506, p. 2 (La. App. 4 Cir. 10/15/14), 151 So. 3d 908, 910 (quoting Input/Output Marine, 10-477, p. 13, 52 So. 3d at 916).

Posted: March 1, 2018

February 2018 Newsletter is posted!

Check out the February 2018 newsletter.

February highlights include:

  • $250,000 minimum for multiple injuries, including sternum fracture, broken ribs, lumbar herniations and displaced prosthetic eye lens requiring surgery;
  • USDC-WDLA jury verdict awarding general damages of $2,250,000;
  • Reinstated jury general damage award of $50,000 for cervical injury treated with ACDF surgery;
  • Comprehensive coverage insurance bad faith penalty; and
  • Hearsay and Daubert evidentiary issues.

View the newsletter by clicking the following link: CompQuantum February 2018 Newsletter.

Posted: Feb. 28, 2018