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Davis v. Burke's Outlet Stores, LLC

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit

December 10, 2014

DANNIE K. DAVIS, ET UX.
v.
BURKE'S OUTLET STORES, LLC, ET AL

Page 665

APPEAL FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO. 246,952. HONORABLE HARRY FRED RANDOW, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Barry J. Heinen, A Professional Law Corporation, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Dannie K. Davis, Dee Robinette Davis.

Lewis O. Lauve, Jr., Bussey & Lauve, LLC, Alexandria, LA, COUNSEL FOR INTERVENOR/APPELLANT: City of Alexandria.

Brett M. Bollinger, L. Peter Englande, Jr., Zaunbrecher Treadaway, L.L.C., Covington, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Burke's Outlet Stores, LLC.

Court composed of Marc T. Amy, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Billy Howard Ezell, Judges.

OPINION

Page 666

[14-686 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] AMY, Judge.

The plaintiff, an Alexandria police officer, alleges that, after responding to a call at a local store about a matter of suspected shoplifting, he was injured when he crashed through a locked glass door while in pursuit of a suspect. The plaintiff and his wife sued the store, alleging that the store was negligent in locking the glass door. The store filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that the plaintiff, who was acting in his capacity as a police officer, was precluded from recovery under the professional rescuer's doctrine. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment, dismissing the plaintiffs' claims. The plaintiffs and the intervenor appeal. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand.

Factual and Procedural Background

The undisputed facts in the record indicate that the plaintiff, Dannie K. Davis, was employed as a police officer by the Alexandria Police Department. In in that capacity, he responded to a call concerning a suspected shoplifter at Burke's Outlet Stores, L.L.C. The record indicates that the store had a pair of glass ingress/egress doors and that the " right" -side door was locked, forcing pedestrian traffic to enter and exit through the " left" -side door. According to Officer Davis, after he confronted the suspect, she fled. While in pursuit, Officer Davis ran into the locked glass door, causing the glass to shatter. Officer Davis alleges that he suffered severe injuries as a result.

Thereafter, Officer Davis and his wife, Dee Robinette Davis, filed this suit against Burke's and its insurer, Hartford Fire Insurance Company, seeking damages they allege occurred as a result of the incident. The City of Alexandria intervened, seeking reimbursements of workers' compensation benefits and medical expenses paid to Officer Davis or on his behalf. Burke's filed a motion [14-686 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] for summary judgment, contending that Officer Davis' suit was precluded by the professional rescuer doctrine. After a hearing, the trial court granted the motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiffs' claims.

The plaintiffs appeal, asserting that:

1. The trial court committed reversible error by granting defendant's motion for summary judgment in that there was a genuine issue of material fact for the fact finder to consider.
2. The trial court committed reversible error by not considering the affidavit of Mr. Phillip Beard, P.E., a licensed civil engineer, an expert in structural engineering, who verified that Burke's Outlet Store had ...

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