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Romero-Zambrano v. Bell

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

November 25, 2014

JULIO ROMERO-ZAMBRANO
v.
NATASHA BELL, USAGENCIES CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. (LIABILITY), IMPERIAL FIRE AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY AND USAGENCIES CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. (UM)

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 720-718, DIVISION " K" . HONORABLE ELLEN SHIRER KOVACH, JUDGE PRESIDING.

IVAN A. ORIHUELA, Kenner, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT, JULIO ROMERO-ZAMBRANO.

JAMES L. DONOVAN, JR., P. M. DONOVAN, Metairie, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE, USAGENCIES CASUALTY INS. CO.

Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and Stephen J. Windhorst.

OPINION

 SUSAN M. CHEHARDY, J.

Page 144

[14-404 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] Appellant, Julio Romero-Zambrano, appeals from a judgment dismissing his claim for damages against defendant, U.S. Agencies Casualty Ins. Co., in this automobile accident suit. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 1, 2012, Mr. Romero filed a petition for damages, seeking recovery for injuries sustained in an automobile accident with Natasha Bell on November 8, 2011. In the petition, defendant named as defendants Natasha Bell, U.S. Agencies Casualty Ins. Co. (liability carrier), Imperial Fire and Casualty Ins. Co., and U.S. Agencies Casualty Ins. Co. (uninsured motorist carrier).

Following discovery, the trial court dismissed with prejudice Mr. Romero's claims against Imperial and U.S. Agencies, as liability carrier only, having granted their respective motions for summary judgment on July 10, 2013 and November [14-404 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] 19, 2013. Mr. Romero filed a motion for new trial, objecting to the summary judgment rendered in favor of U.S. Agencies.

At a hearing on the motion on January 7, 2014, the parties stipulated that Ms. Bell was responsible for the automobile accident and that she was uninsured at the time of the accident. In exchange for this stipulation, the parties entered into a consent judgment whereby Mr. Romero agreed to withdraw his motion for new trial and to dismiss with prejudice his claims against Ms. Bell and U.S. Agencies as liability carrier.

The matter then proceeded to a bench trial wherein Mr. Romero testified that at approximately 4:00 p.m. on the afternoon of November 8, 2011, while he was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Causeway Boulevard and West Napoleon Avenue in his Mitsubishi Lancer, a Ford F150 truck, driven by Natasha Bell, struck the rear of his vehicle. Mr. Romero explained that he sensed pain in his neck and back and that his vehicle was rendered inoperable by the collision. He testified that the responding police officer grabbed him by the neck and told him not to move, which he explained the officer did because the officer thought Mr. Romero may have injured his neck. However, Mr. Romero testified that he did not tell the officer he was hurt and that the officer did not communicate with him because he cannot speak English. In the police report, the officer indicated that Mr. Romero did not sustain an injury and classified the extent of damage to Ms. Bell's vehicle as " very

Page 145

minor" and the extent of damage to Mr. Romero's vehicle as " ...


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