Articles Posted in Brain Injury

Louisiana trial lawyers, Paul H. Dué and B. Scott Andrews, of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews Courrege L.C. have been selected for 2014 membership in The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

The National Trial Lawyers is a member-driven organization composed of premier trial lawyers from across the country who meet stringent qualifications. Only top trial lawyers from Louisiana who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

Prospective members of The National Trial Lawyers are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership. Membership is not automatically renewed; attorneys are reevaluated annually to determine whether their activities and accomplishments qualify them for continued membership.
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For the second straight year, Louisiana Super Lawyers has selected every member (Paul H. Dué, Kirk A. Guidry, Randy A. Piedrahita and B. Scott Andrews) of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews Courrege L.C..

The reason each member has been selected for inclusions in the 2014 Louisiana Super Lawyers list in the practice area of Personal Injury is clear – more than 27 years of handling referrals of complex and difficult personal injury cases from lawyers around the world. The firm’s success is rooted in academia, with all firm members having graduated at the top of their law school class and having served as members of or as editors of their Law Reviews. The firm boasts two former Louisiana Supreme Court law clerks, a former U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals law clerk, an Adjunct Professor of Law, two past Presidents of the Louisiana Association for Justice (LAJ), and both a former Louisiana appellate judge and an esteemed University of Texas Law Professor “of counsel”.

This academic background, combined with dedication, hard work and extensive experience, has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments, settlements and verdicts. The firm’s success has been shared with the extensive number of attorneys around the world who have referred complex personal injury cases to the firm – and who find the firm’s experience and funding assistance invaluable in representing their seriously injured clients.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews Courrege L.C. has been recognized in the “Best Law Firms” rankings by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers. The firm was recognized for 2014 in the plaintiff practice areas of Personal Injury Litigation, Product Liability Litigation, Medical Malpractice, and Admiralty & Maritime Law.

Firms included in the 2014 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

“U.S. News has more than two decades of experience in providing the public with the most accurate and in-depth rankings of a wide range of institutions, including our Best Law Schools rankings,” says Tim Smart, Executive Editor of U.S. News & World Report. “Law firms are an integral part of our rankings and a natural accompaniment to the law school rankings.”

The 2014 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and highest number of client ballots on record. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the US. Over 12,000 attorneys provided over 330,000 law firm assessments, and almost 7,000 clients provided close to 20,000 evaluations. In addition, to provide personal insight, a new Law Firm Leaders Survey was implemented in the decision-making process.

“Because we combine hard data with peer reviews and client assessments,” says Steven Naifeh, President and Co-Founder of Best Lawyers, “more and more clients inform us ours are the most thorough, accurate, and helpful rankings of law firms ever developed.”

Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity.
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In McBride v. Estis Well Service, 12-30714 (5th Cir. 10/2/13), the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Jones Act Seamen may recover punitive damages for their employer’s willful and wanton breach of the general maritime law duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. Such breach reflects a reckless disregard for the safety of the crew, who remain “wards of admiralty” deserving special protection under maritime law.

The general maritime law cause of action (unseaworthiness) and remedy (punitive damages) were established before passage of the Jones Act, and the Jones Act did not address that cause of action or remedy. Thus, the Fifth Circuit held that the punitive damages remedy remains available under that unseaworthiness cause of action unless and until Congress intercedes.

The Court concluded as follows: “Like maintenance and cure, unseaworthiness was established as a general maritime claim before the passage of the Jones Act, punitive damages were available under general maritime law, and the Jones Act does not address unseaworthiness or limit its remedies. We conclude, therefore, that punitive damages remain available to seamen as a remedy for the general maritime law claim of unseaworthiness.”

The Fifth Circuit cited as authority three law review and journal articles authored by University of Texas School of Law Distinguished Teaching Professor and W. Page Keeton Chair in Tort Law, David W. Robertson. Professor Robertson is one of the nation’s leading experts in admiralty law and serves of counsel to the Baton Rouge, Louisiana admiralty and maritime law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews Courrege L.C..
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BATON ROUGE–Eleven neighbors of the Monolyte Labs Inc. chemical facility in Slaughter, Louisiana filed a lawsuit in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge on September 24, 2013 for injuries and damages that resulted from the November 9, 2012, explosion and fire that destroyed the facility and required a middle-of-the-night evacuation of residents from their homes.

The residents, represented by the Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews Courrege L.C. are experiencing a range of symptoms resulting from the blaze and subsequent protracted and continuing cleanup of the site. The fire destroyed the facility, which blended various toxic chemicals for use in the water treatment industry. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality had to repeatedly issue orders to owners of the facility to clean up the extensive chemical release and spill that resulted from the fire. Extremely strong chemical odors permeated blocks around the plant site for months following the explosion and fire.

Plaintiffs have experienced respiratory and other ailments since the incident. The five-year-old daughter of a couple whose home was near the Monolyte facility has required more than 20 trips to doctors and hospitals–some by ambulance–for treatment of respiratory problems since the Nov. 9 fire and release of chemicals. The lawsuit also claims losses other than physical injuries, such as diminished property values.

Louisiana Revised Statute 9:5629 provides that actions for the recovery of damages sustained in motor vehicle accidents brought pursuant to UM provisions in motor vehicle insurance policies are prescribed by two years reckoning from the date of the accident in which the damage was sustained.

A timely filed suit against the tortfeasor interrupts prescription against the UM insurer because they are solidary obligors. Hoefly v. Government Employees Ins. Co., 418 So.2d 575 (La.1982).

A liability insurer and a UM insurer are not solidary obligors, so suit against the liability insurer does not interrupt prescription against the UM insurer. Rizer v. American Sur. & Fid. Ins. Co., 669 So.2d 387 (La.1996).
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Louisiana’s No Pay / No Play statute, provides that an owner or operator of a motor vehicle who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security can not recover for the first $15,000 of bodily injury damages and for the first $25,000 of property damage caused by a motor vehicle accident, unless the driver of the other vehicle:

(i)  Is cited for a violation of R.S. 14:98 (DWI/DUI) as a result of the accident and is subsequently convicted of or pleads nolo contendere to such offense.

(ii)  Intentionally causes the accident.

(iii)  Flees from the scene of the accident.

(iv)  At the time of the accident, is in furtherance of the commission of a felony offense.
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Louisiana Revised Statute 32:900 provides for the minimum compulsory auto liability insurance limits:

$10,000 per person / $20,000 per accident regardless of the number of persons (prior to January 1, 2010)

$15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident (effective January 1, 2010)

$25,000 per person/ $50,000 per accident for intrastate motor carriers (except tow trucks, not for hire farm vehicles, and forestry vehicles) weighing 20,001 – 50,000 pounds
$300,000 combined single limit for all persons or 100/300 for intrastate motor carriers (except tow trucks, not for hire farm vehicles, and forestry vehicles) weighing more than 50,000 pounds
For interstate carriers, federal provides the following minimim limits:

Property–49 C.F.R. § 387.9– (1) Property/Dry Freight: $750,000; (2) Oil/Petroleum: $1,000,000; (3) Hazardous Materials: $5,000,000;

Passengers–49 C.F.R. § 387.33– (1) Seating for 15 or less: $1,500,000; (2) Seating for 16 or more: $5,000,000.
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In Louisiana State Police Troop G, 27 fatal crashes were investigated in 2012, with 22% of those Louisiana auto accidents involving impaired drivers.

Louisiana’s DUI or DWI laws apply to operators of motor vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, vessel, or other means of conveyance. Under Louisiana law, La.R.S. 13:98.1, an operator or driver under the age of 21 found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 or more will be charged with DWI. Under La. R.S. 13:98, an operator or driver over the age of 21 found to have a BAC of .08 or more will be charged with DWI.

Under La. R.S. 9:2798.4, if an accident occurs, no person is liable for the injury, death, or loss of the operator or driver of a motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or vessel if he/she is found to be in excess of 25% negligent as a result of his/her BAC being in excess of .08, and the negligence was a contributing factor causing the damage.

In order to combat drunk driving and with the support from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, the Louisiana State Police will conduct a DWI checkpoint in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, on June 19-20, 2013, at an undisclosed location. The DWI checkpoint will be conducted from approximately 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
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