Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell filed a lawsuit on June 27, 2014 with the 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge against Fresenius Medical Care North America and its Louisiana dialysis clinics over the use of dialysis drugs, GranuFlo and NaturaLyte. The FDA issued a Class I recall on these drugs after it was found that the products could put patients at risk for cardiac arrest when not prescribed appropriately.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks a return of profit made by Fresenius on the sale of these drug in Louisiana and seeks civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation under Louisiana’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, La. R.S. 51:1401, et seq.

A number of class-action lawsuits have also been filed against Fresenius. The federal lawsuits have been consolidated into Multi District Litigation (MDL) 2428: In Re: Fresenius Granuflo/Naturalyte Dialysate Products Liability Litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
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On May 15, 2014, a West Baton Rouge Parish jury awarded $825,751 to a woman whose vehicle was rear-ended by an Entergy bucket truck.

Baton Rouge attorneys, Randy Piedrahita and Don Cazayoux, argued the Entergy Bucket truck totaled forty-one year-old Lana Averette’s car, causing her significant injuries. “Two-thirds of the award was for Lana’s medical bills, the rest being for her lost wages and other damages,” said Randy Piedrahita, lead counsel. The 11-1 jury verdict came after four of Lana’s doctors testified her injuries required $500,000 of future medical care so she could return to the workforce. No award for future losses from the date of trial forward besides medical expenses was requested by Lana Averette’s attorney, as her doctors said so long as the medical procedures were done, she would be able to return to work. “We couldn’t ask the jury to believe these treatments would work and then in the same breath ask them to make an award just in case they didn’t,” Piedrahita said. “We’re glad the jury came back with a quick verdict that vindicated everything Lana and her doctors were saying.” It is unknown whether Entergy will be appealing this jury verdict.

Randy Piedrahita is an attorney with the firm of Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews and is a candidate for 19th JDC District Judge for the Parish of East Baton Rouge. Don Cazayoux is an attorney with the firm of Cazayoux Ewing and is a former Congressman, State Representative, and United States Attorney.

NHTSA and GM entered into a consent order on Friday, May 16, 2014, under which GM will pay the statutory maximum civil penalty of $35 million for its failure to comply with the notification requirements of the Safety Act — National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 as amended and recodified, 49 U.S.C. § 30101, et seq. — for its failure to provide timely notice to NHTSA of the safety related defect in the GM ignition switch. During the investigation into GM’s conduct, a 2008 Technical Learning Symposium presentation for GM employees was uncovered that revealed a shocking list of Judgment Words for GM employees to avoid using in reports and presentations. Included on the list are:
Per the terms of the consent order, GM has initiated efforts to improve employee training, and will expressly disavow such statements diluting the safety message.

The civil penalty does not relieve GM from civil liability for injuries caused by the defective ignition switch. GM’s liability for injuries will be governed by state law. According to Baton Rouge, Louisiana auto defect lawyer and Products Liability law professor, Scott Andrews, in Louisiana, the manufacturer-friendly Louisiana Products Liability Act (LPLA), La. R.S. 9:2800.51, et seq., provides the exclusive theories of liability against manufacturers whose products have caused injuries. The Act does not include the word “defect” anywhere within the four corners of the statutes. Rather, in Louisiana, the manufacturer of a product shall be liable to a claimant for damage proximately caused by a characteristic of the product that renders the product unreasonably dangerous when such damage arose from a reasonably anticipated use of the product by the claimant or another person or entity.
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Louisiana trial lawyers, Paul H. Dué and B. Scott Andrews, of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana personal injury law firm of Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews 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.

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 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.
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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 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 22:1269 (formerly La.R.S. 22:655), provides for a direct action against a liability insurer in two instances:

1) where the policy or contract of liability insurance was issued (domestic insurer) or delivered (foreign insurer) in Louisiana; or

2) where the accident or injury occurred in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Direct Action Statute does not create an independent cause of action against the insurer. It merely grants a procedural right of action against the insurer where the plaintiff has a substantive cause of action against the insured. The Louisiana Direct Action Statute affords a victim the right to sue the insurer directly when the liability policy covers a certain risk. The statute does not extend the protection of the liability policy to risks that were not covered by the policy or were excluded thereby (at least in the absence of some mandatory coverage provisions in other statutes)

The injured person or his or her survivors or heirs, at their option, may bring the action against the insured or against the insured and the liability insurer. The action may be brought against the insurer alone only when:

a) the insurer has been adjudged a bankrupt by a court of competent jurisdiction or when proceedings to adjudge an insured a bankrupt have been commenced before a court of competent jurisdiction;

b) the insured is insolvent;

c) service of citation or other process can not be made on the insured;

d) when the cause of action is for damages as a result of an offense or quasi-offense between children and their parents or between married persons;

e) when the insurer is an uninsured motorist carrier; or
f) the insured is deceased.
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