Super Lawyers 2016 selected every member (Kirk A. Guidry, Randy A. Piedrahita and B. Scott Andrews) of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm of Dué Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. for inclusion in the 2016 Louisiana Super Lawyers list in the practice area of Personal Injury.
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Congratulations to our newly elected Governor – John Bel Edwards!!
As a faithful husband, dedicated father, unwavering public servant, proud veteran, humble man of religion, and small business owner, John Bel Edwards will be a Governor who will finally put Louisiana families and Louisiana workers first and get us back on the right track after eight years of failing policies.
A 13 year-old child was killed on October 29, 2015 in a car crash in Monroe, Louisiana. The child was one of several passengers in a 2013 Toyota SUV being operated by Florence Nash of Monroe, Louisiana.
According to the preliminary investigation by Troop F of the Louisiana State Police, the Toyota SUV failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of US 165-B and Buckhorn Bend Road just south of Monroe, resulting in a crash with a 2003 Ford truck being operated by Becky Lee of West Monroe.
Nash and several passengers were taken to local hospitals for injuries. The 13 year-old died from her injuries while at the hospital.
The car crash is still under investigation.
In a dispute characterized by the trial court as “ordinary people against nice doctors and [a] heartless soulless insurance company,” a successful doctor and his insurer appealed a judgment against the unsuccessful plaintiff that ONLY awarded them $3,539.75 for expert costs. The trial court was not persuaded by the “cold heartless” insurance company and the doctor to make the victim of the alleged medical malpractice pay them an additional $34,064.41 to compensate their out of state expert witness.
The dispute arose because an unsuccessful party in a lawsuit can be required to pay the costs (including expert witness fees, deposition costs and related expenses) of the successful party. See La. Civil Code article 1920 and La. Revised Statutes 13:3666 and 13:4533, which give the trial court great discretion in awarding costs as it may consider equitable.
Under the unique facts of the case, and recognizing the flexibility of the trial court in awarding costs, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment because the defendants failed to introduce into evidence any documentation or testimony whatsoever to support the expert’s bills. William McDougald v. St. Francis North Hospital, 50-079 (La. App. 2 Cir. 10/14/15).
Paul H. Dué is recognized by his Best Lawyers® peers in the practice areas of Admiralty and Maritime Law, Appellate Practice, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, and Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs.
Best Lawyers® is the oldest and one of the most respected peer-review publications in the legal profession. This lists of lawyers are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of rated attorneys confidentially evaluate their professional peers.
For the third consecutive year, Louisiana Super Lawyers recognizes 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.
The reason each member has been selected for inclusions in the 2015 Louisiana Super Lawyers list in the practice area of Personal Injury is clear – more than 28 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.
The Louisiana trial lawyers at Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews combine their academic backgrounds, practical trial experience and financial “staying power” to add up to success for clients and the lawyers trusting the firm with referrals.
The firm and all firm members enjoy the prestigious AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell and firm members have been recognized by Best Lawyers, U.S. News – Best Law Firms, National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
(1) Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
(2) Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews attorney Paul H. Dué was recently selected by his peers as 2015 “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. Paul H. Dué received this same honor in 2009.
Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant. These lawyers are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the peer-review assessments.
Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.
In addition to the 2015 Lawyer of the Year award, Paul H. Dué was also listed in the 2015 Best Lawyers in America in the following practice areas:
Paul H. Dué began his legal career after finishing first in his law school class at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1966. His Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm, Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews, focuses on trial and appeals of complex personal injury, brain injury, burn injury, and wrongful death litigation, including car wrecks, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
Paul H. Dué, a past-president of LAJ, had previously been honored with the LAJ President’s Award and the LAJ Stalwart Award. Paul is a Life Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has been selected for inclusion in Louisiana Super Lawyers since its inception.
Ashanti Green v. Michael Johnson, 2014-0292 (La.10/15/14), with Justice Hughes writing for the Louisiana Supreme Court, held that since the Allstate auto policy at issue contractually included UM coverage, the express provisions of the policy (or contract) governed whether UM coverage existed for the accident, and statutory UM coverage under La. R.S. 22:1295 was not at issue.
Plaintiff co-owned a motorcycle with a friend. When plaintiff was killed by an underinsured motorist, his beneficiaries filed a claim for UM benefits against the co-owner’s Allstate auto policy. The express terms of the Allstate auto policy did not provide for bodily injury liability coverage, but did provide for UM coverage.
In granting summary judgment in favor of Allstate, the lower courts relied on jurisprudential language holding that, “it is well-settled that a person who does not qualify as a liability insured under a policy of insurance is not entitled to UM coverage under the policy” as a basis for finding that there was no UM coverage for the accident at issue under the co-owner’s Allstate policy. The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed, holding that this jurisprudential language is limited to the provision of “statutory” UM as required by La.R.S. 22:1295, and does not apply to UM that is actually provided for in the insurance policy (or contract). Thus, the Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that even when an insurer is not required by law to provide UM coverage because the policy does not provide liability coverage, the insurer is nevertheless free to contract to provide UM coverage.
After analyzing the Louisiana Supreme Court jurisprudence, the Supreme Court articulated that when the existence of UM coverage under a policy of automobile insurance is at issue, Magnon v. Collins, Succession of Fannaly v. Lafayette Insurance Company, Filipski v. Imperial Fire & Casualty Insurance Company, and Cadwallader v. Allstate Insurance Company demonstrate a two-step analysis:
(1) the automobile insurance policy is first examined to determine whether UM coverage is contractually provided under the express provisions of the policy; and
(2) if no UM coverage is found under the policy provisions, then the UM statute (La.R.S. 22:1295) is applied to determine whether statutory UM coverage is mandated.
See also Bernard v. Ellis, 11-2377 (La. 7/2/12), 111 So.3d 995, 1000 (recognizing that an automobile insurance policy must first be examined for contractual UM coverage, and if contractual coverage is absent, “if a plaintiff is insured under the auto liability coverage, he is entitled to UM coverage” (citing Magnon v. Collins and Filipski v. Imperial Fire & Casualty Insurance Company)). If there is express contractual UM coverage in the policy, it is unnecessary to apply the UM statute to determine whether UM coverage is statutorily mandated.
In this case, the Allstate auto policy provided UM coverage to the plaintiff because he met the definition of an “insured person” since he was a “person while in, on, getting into or out of an `insured auto’ with [the policyholder’s] express or implied permission.” The co-owned motorcycle qualified as an “insured auto” for purposes of UM coverage since it was an after-acquired “land motor vehicle” as set forth in the policy.
The motorcycle did not qualify as an “insured auto” for purposes of liability coverage since it was not an after-acquired “four wheel” auto as set forth in the policy.
Thus, the distinction between the UM provisions and the liability provisions vis-à-vis coverage was that the UM provisions included within the definition of “insured auto,” for coverage as an after-acquired vehicle, a “land motor vehicle,” which would encompass a motorcycle, while the liability provisions included within the definition of “insured auto,” for coverage as an after-acquired vehicle, only a “four wheel” auto, which would exclude liability coverage for a motorcycle.
The Louisiana Supreme Court found no ambiguity in this Allstate policy; the parties clearly intended to extend greater UM coverage to after-acquired vehicles, by defining an “insured auto” to encompass any “land motor vehicle” (with only three listed exceptions), than for liability coverage, which was limited to “four wheel” autos. The inclusion in the policy of differing definitions for “insured auto” in differing coverage sections produced no absurd consequences, and the policy was applied as written.