SYLVIA RICHTHOFEN, SURVIVING WIDOW OF JAMES RICHTHOFEN, CHRIS RICHTHOFEN; PEGGY FORTNER; TAMMY STOCKSTILL; JAMES RICHTHOFEN; RANDY RICHTHOFEN; MARSHA JIMINEZ; MELISSA HECKARD; MELINDA RICHTHOFEN; AND LANCE RICHTHOFEN, ALL INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THE DECEDENT, JAMES RICHTHOFEN; AND MELINDA RICHTHOFEN ON BEHALF OF PATRICIA RICHTHOFEN
JESUS MEDINA, DEYSU NOEMY PEREIRA AND XYZ INSURANCE COMPANY
ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 693-939, DIVISION " G" . HONORABLE ROBERT A. PITRE, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING.
RANDY RICHTHOFEN, IN PROPER PERSON, Angola, Louisiana, APPELLANT.
WM. RYAN ACOMB, MICHELE TROWBRIDGE BARRECA, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE.
Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and Hans J. Liljeberg.
SUSAN M. CHEHARDY,
[2014-0294 La.App. 5 Cir. 1] This appeal arises out of a wrongful death and survival action stemming from a fatal accident involving an automobile and a wheelchair. Appellant, Randy Richthofen, appeals from the trial court's granting of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company's motion for summary judgment, dismissing appellant's causes of action against State Farm. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On the evening of October 19, 2009, James Richthofen (" decedent" ) was operating a motorized wheelchair in front of his residence at 2913 Hero Drive in Gretna, Louisiana. Decedent's two-year-old granddaughter, Patricia Richthofen, was sitting in his lap. A 1998 Toyota 4-Runner, traveling down Hero Drive and being operated by Jesus Medina, struck decedent's wheelchair, killing him and [2014-0294 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] injuring his granddaughter. The wheelchair came to rest next to a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer, owned by Ida Corley, parked in the driveway of 3020 Hero Drive. Mr. Medina was determined to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 percent. For decedent's death, Mr. Medina subsequently pled guilty to one count of vehicular homicide, a violation of La. R.S. 14:32.2, and to one count of hit-and-run driving, a violation of La. R.S. 14:100, in district court case number 09-5771 of the 24th Judicial District Court. For the injuries sustained by Patricia Richthofen, Mr. Medina pled guilty to vehicular negligent injuring, a violation of La. R.S. 14:39.1, in district court case number 09-6036 of the 24th Judicial District Court.
On October 18, 2010, Sylvia Richthofen, surviving widow of James Richthofen, et al., filed a petition for a wrongful death and survival action against Jesus Medina, Deysi Noemy Pereira (the owner of the Toyota 4-Runner), and XYZ Insurance Company. Thereafter, on February 24, 2012, appellant, Randy Richthofen, in proper person, filed an amended complaint against multiple parties, including Ida Corley and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Corley's automobile insurance carrier. In this complaint, appellant alleged that decedent was traveling in his wheelchair on the sidewalk when he was forced to enter the street to circumvent Corley's illegally parked vehicle blocking the sidewalk. But for Corely's illegally parked vehicle, appellant argued, decedent would not have entered the street and would not have been struck and killed by Mr. Medina.
On December 13, 2013, State Farm filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that appellant failed to carry his burden of proof and that, in the absence of genuine issues of material fact, it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. On January 9, 2014, appellant filed a " Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment," to [2014-0294 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] which he attached photographs of the accident scene. Following a hearing on January 16, 2014, the trial court granted State Farm's motion for summary judgment, dismissing, with prejudice, appellant's claims and causes of action against State Farm. Appellant appeals this ruling.
Summary judgment is appropriate when there remains no genuine issue as to material fact and the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Zeringue v. O'Brien Transp., Inc., 05-760 (La.App. 5 Cir. 4/11/06), 931 So.2d 377, 379, writ denied, 06-1107 (La. 9/1/06), 936 So.2d 205. Summary judgments are favored in the law and the rules should be liberally applied. Id. ...