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Barras v. Progressive Sec. Ins. Co.

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit

February 11, 2015

NOLAN C. BARRAS, JR., ET UX.
v.
PROGRESSIVE SECURITY INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL

Page 1186

APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. C-20126079. HONORABLE JOHN DAMIAN TRAHAN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

AFFIRMED AS AMENDED.

Orida Broussard Edwards, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Nolan C. Barras, Jr., Nicole Z. Barras.

Sean P. Rabalais, Casler, Bordelon & Lawler, Baton Rouge, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Progressive Security Insurance Company, Fred Landry.

Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, James T. Genovese, and David Kent Savoie, Judges.

OPINION

Page 1187

[14-898 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] SAVOIE, Judge.

Plaintiffs, Nicole and Nolan Barras and their five minor children, appeal the jury verdict award as abusively low. For the following reasons, we amend and affirm.

ISSUES PRESENTED

1. Did Mrs. Barras establish that she incurred compensable past medical expenses in the amount of $23,641.96, thus requiring an increase in the jury's award of $21,641.96 for past medical expenses?
2. Did the jury err in its failure to award future medical expenses to

Page 1188

Mrs. Barras in light of the evidence presented?
3. Did the jury abuse its discretion by awarding Mrs. Barras only $25,000 in general damages for past and future mental and physical pain and suffering for the injuries she alleged were caused by this automobile accident?
4. Does an injured party's duty to mitigate damages include consenting to aggressive medical treatment or intrusive medical procedures when the injured party's pre-accident lifestyle is one that embraced homeopathy, alternative medicines, natural remedies, and herbal supplements?
5. Did the jury abuse its discretion by awarding only $5,000 to Mrs. Barras for her loss of enjoyment of life?
6. Did the jury abuse its discretion by awarding only $2,000 to Mr. Barras for the loss of consortium he experienced as a consequence of his wife's accident-related injuries?
7. Did the jury abuse its discretion by making minimal awards of damages to the five Barras children for the loss of consortium when their loss of educational benefits and the negative impact of Mrs. Barras' frequent absences from the family home were extreme as a consequence of this automobile accident?
8. Should " loss of education benefits" be designated as a separate element of damages for homeschooled children and what factors should be considered in determining the value of a child's loss of education benefits when the parent who sustains bodily injuries is the primary educator of homeschooled minor children?

[14-898 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Nicole Barras, was involved in an automobile accident on November 29, 2011, wherein she sustained multiple bodily injuries. She sued the driver Fred Landry, Sr. and his insurance provider, Progressive Security Insurance Company (" defendants" ), for damages sustained as a result of the collision. Nicole Barras's husband, Nolan Barras, and their five minor children also sued the defendants for their loss of consortium claims. The issue of liability was stipulated at trial. After a trial by jury, the following damages were awarded to Nicole Barras:

Past Medical Expenses

$21,641.96

Future Medical Expenses

$0

Transportation Expenses

$3,850.00

Mental and Physical Pain and Suffering,

$25,000.00

Past and Future

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

$5,000.00

Nolan Barras and the five Barras children were awarded the following damages for their loss of consortium claims:

Nolan Barras

$2,000.00

Saul Barras

$1,500.00

Lucy Barras

$1,000.00

Agnes Barras

$1,000.00

Silas Barras

$500.00

Manon Barras

$500.00


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