Louisiana Court of Appeal Upholds Dismissal of Premises Liability Case After Hurricane Damage

Dangerous facilities and buildings are a leading cause of injury for Louisiana residents. As dedicated personal injury attorneys, our seasoned team of professionals has assisted many victims with bringing a claim against a landowner who failed to maintain his or her property in a safe and orderly fashion. In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered a Louisiana premises liability action that involved Hurricane Isaac.

In 2012, the hurricane caused serious damage to LaPlace. On the date that the hurricane wreaked havoc, the plaintiff and her boyfriend and their two children were staying at a hotel in the town. Before the hurricane hit, the plaintiff sent her children to stay at a safe location, while she and her boyfriend remained at the hotel. At around 5 am, the hurricane moved over the hotel, and the plaintiff was awakened by the noise. The ceiling and wall of their room collapsed and fell inward. She was then escorted to the hallway and taken to the emergency room.

The owner of the hotel later discovered that there was a locked door at the end of the hallway that had suffered damage. The door buckled, and the lock was dangling. The wind caused a concrete block wall in that area of the building to collapse. The blocks fell onto the joists above the room in which the plaintiff was staying, causing the wall and the ceiling to collapse and land on top of her.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the hotel, seeking compensation for the injuries that she received. She alleged in her complaint that the owner of the hotel failed to repair the defects in the building and that he knew or should have known of its defective nature. The defendant responded by filing a motion for summary judgment, alleging that the hurricane was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries instead of the alleged condition of the building. In particular, the defendant relied on the affirmative defense called Act of God. The trial court ruled in favor of the hotel owner and issued summary judgment in his favor. The plaintiff appealed.

On review, the appellate court upheld the lower court’s grant of summary judgment in the defendant’s favor. The appellate court noted primarily that the plaintiff was aware that the hurricane was approaching and that she even sent her children away to a safer location. The court stated that the hotel was not required to give a warning because the nature of the danger was obvious to the guests.

If you were injured as a result of a landowner’s failure to keep his or her premises in a safe condition, or a failure to provide adequate warnings, our trusted team of personal injury trial lawyers is standing by to assist you. We understand how confusing this process may be for  your family and you, especially while you are handling the pain and inconvenience of your injuries. We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and serve clients throughout Louisiana. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (225) 929-7481 or contact us online.

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