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Dawson v. Carbollosa

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

December 18, 2014

KINYA DAWSON
v.
HECTOR CARBOLLOSA, ET AL

RULING

ROBERT G. JAMES, District Judge.

This is a motor vehicle diversity case in which Plaintiff Kinya Dawson ("Dawson") was allegedly injured when her vehicle collided with an 18-wheeler driven by Defendant Hector Carballosa ("Carballosa"). Pending is Defendants' Motion in Limine seeking the exclusion of certain evidence at trial. [Doc. No. 30].

Dawson filed an Opposition Memorandum. [Doc. No. 36]. Defendants filed a reply. [Doc. No. 37]. Dawson filed a Supplemental Memorandum in Opposition. [Doc. No. 41].

For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On January 14, 2013, Dawson was traveling eastbound through Monroe, Louisiana, in the inside lane of Interstate 20. [Doc. No. 30, Exh. 4, p. 2]. Carballosa, an employee of Defendant Jorge Sanchez, d/b/a Midnight Express Transportation, was also driving eastbound in an 18-wheeler, but in the outside lane. Id. Dawson and Carballosa's vehicles collided near the Texas Avenue off-ramp, apparently as Carballosa changed lanes. Id. at p. 1. As a result, Carballosa received a traffic citation for "improper lane usage" and a citation under "33.2.79." Id. at pp. 2 & 4. However, on August 15, 2013, Carballosa pled guilty to a non-moving violation, see [Doc. No. 30, Exh. 5], not to an "improper lane usage" violation as indicated in Dawson's Petition. [Doc. No. 1-2, ΒΆ 22].

Dawson initiated this action on December 27, 2013, in the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, State of Louisiana. [Doc. No. 1-2]. On January 13, 2014, Defendants Carballosa, Jorge Sanchez, and Canal Indemnity Company (collectively "the Defendants") removed to this Court based on diversity jurisdiction. [Doc. No. 1-1].

Dawson works for the City of Monroe and is insured under the City's agreement with United HealthCare Insurance Company ("United"). The City of Monroe's insurance agreement, which was in effect on the date of the accident, contains a subrogation clause that states that the City's plan "is substituted to and shall succeed to any and all legal claims that [the insured] may be entitled to pursue against any third party for the Benefits that the Plan has paid." [Doc. No. 30, Exh. 3, p. 85]. To date, United claims it has paid $36, 938.60 for Dawson's medical expenses, although Defendants have received an itemization of only $13, 000.30 in charges. [Doc. No. 35, Exh. 1].

On June 5, 2014, OptumHealth ("Optum"), purportedly acting on behalf of United, sent a letter to Defendants' attorney asserting United's right to subrogation. [Doc. No. 30, Exh. 1]. Neither United nor the City of Monroe has asserted a claim in this action by intervention. The deadline for joinder of parties and amendment of pleadings passed on July 25, 2014. [Doc. No. 21].

On November 6, 2014, Defendants filed a Motion in Limine asking the Court to exclude all references to the "improper lane usage" citation issued to Carballosa immediately after the accident and that Dawson be barred from recovering any medical expenses that have already been paid by United. [Doc. No. 30].

After Defendants filed the instant Motion, on November 24, 2014, Optum, again purportedly acting on United's behalf, assigned United's subrogation rights to Dawson. [Doc. No. 35, Exh. 1].

Dawson filed a Memorandum in Opposition on November 25, 2014. [Doc. No. 35]. Defendants replied, objecting to the assignment on several grounds. [Doc. No. 37]. Dawson filed a Supplemental Memorandum in Opposition. [Doc. No. 41].

II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

A. Subrogation and Purported ...


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