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Daigle v. Lapoint

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

November 5, 2014

KAREN ISTRE DAIGLE
v.
JOHN LAPOINT, ET AL

APPEAL FROM THE THIRTY-FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON DAVIS, NO. C-48-11. HONORABLE CRAIG STEVE GUNNELL, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Timothy M. Cassidy, Cassidy Law Firm, Jennings, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Karen Istre Daigle.

Todd M. Ammons, Stockwell, Sievert, Viccellio, Clements & Shaddock, L.L.P., Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, John LaPoint.

Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Marc T. Amy, and John E. Conery, Judges. Conery, J., concurs.

OPINION

Page 600

[14-410 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] AMY, Judge.

Following a trial in which the plaintiff successfully recovered damages associated with an automobile accident, the plaintiff filed a motion to assess costs. The trial court awarded various costs as requested, including expert witness fees for the medical professionals who testified at trial. The defendants appeal, asserting that the trial court awarded excessive fees. For the following reasons, we affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

The plaintiff, Karen Istre Daigle, filed suit alleging physical injury as the result of a January 2010 automobile accident. She named the driver of the other vehicle, John LaPoint, and his insurer, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, as defendants. A jury found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding past medical expenses ($93,375.12), past lost wages ($4,536.00), past pain and suffering, both physical and mental ($75,000.00), future pain and suffering, both physical and mental ($25,000.00), disability ($10,000.00), and loss of enjoyment of life, past and future ($45,000.00). The jury denied the plaintiff's request for disfigurement damages.

Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion to assess costs seeking reimbursement for a variety of trial-associated expenses. The plaintiff attached invoices for the subject expenses to the pleading. At the subsequent hearing, the defendants argued that the fees were unreasonable, particularly those related to fees charged by the plaintiff's treating physicians. The trial court

Page 601

rejected that argument and awarded the fees as pled.

[14-410 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] The judgment reflects awards as follows: 1) Copy costs of $1.00 per page of records introduced at trial and extra copy to defense counsel ($1,984.00); 2) Rental fees for Plaint Film View Box ($350.00); 3) InfoTech equipment and technical assistance of computer and view screen at trial ($300.00); 4) Costs to copy MRI disc to actual film by Jeff Davis ($60.00); 5) Court appearance fee for nurse practitioner Kelly Murray, including records review & trial testimony ($1,045.00); 6) Court appearance fee for physical therapist Ashley Fontenot, including records review & trial testimony ($1,850.00); 7) Court appearance fee for Dr. Craig Morton, including records review & trial testimony ($10,000.00); 8) Court appearance fee for Dr. Steven Hale, including records review & trial testimony ($10,000.00); and 9) Court appearance fee for Dr. Patrick Griffith, including records review & trial testimony ($3,000.00).

The defendants appeal and, on a designated record, question the amounts of the court costs awarded for the copy charges and for each of the three physicians. The defendants contend ...


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