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Hodge v. Strong Built Int'l, LLC

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit

March 4, 2015

DONALD HODGE, JR., ET UX.
v.
STRONG BUILT INTERNATIONAL, LLC, ET AL

Page 1160

APPEAL FROM THE THIRTY-THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF ALLEN, NO. C-2013-367. HONORABLE PATRICIA C. COLE, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Mickey S. deLaup, Valerie E. Fontenot, deLaup & Enright, Metairie, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation.

Wade N. Kelly, Law Office of Christian Chesson, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Strong Built International, LLC.

Michael H. Schwartzberg, Vamvoras, Schwartzberg & Associates, LLC, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Ken Killen.

Donald Carl Hodge, Jr., Baton Rouge, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS: Rachel Hodge, Donald Hodge, Jr.

Court composed of Marc T. Amy, John E. Conery, and David Kent Savoie, Judges.

OPINION

Page 1161

[14-1086 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] AMY, Judge.

According to the plaintiffs, their father died from injuries he sustained when the straps on his ladder-style deer stand failed and the deer stand fell. The plaintiffs filed suit against various entities, including the limited liability company that it contended manufactured the deer stand and the sole member/manager of the LLC. The member/manager filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the deer stand at issue was not one manufactured

Page 1162

by his former LLC and that, even assuming that it was, he had no individual liability to the plaintiffs. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment, and dismissed the plaintiffs' claims against the member/manager. The plaintiffs appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

The plaintiffs, Donald C. Hodge, Jr. and Rachel Hodge, contend that their father, Donald C. Hodge, Sr., was hunting in a ladder-style deer stand when the straps on the stand failed, causing the deer stand and Mr. Hodge, Sr. to fall to the ground. The plaintiffs assert that Mr. Hodge, Sr. died as a result of injuries he sustained in the fall. The plaintiffs filed suit against Strong Built International, L.L.C., Ken Killen, TN International, Inc., Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation, and BlueGrass Outdoor Investments, L.L.C.,[1] seeking damages pursuant to the [14-1086 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] Louisiana Products Liability Act.

Mr. Killen filed a motion for summary judgment, contending therein a) that the deer stand at issue was not one that was manufactured by Strong Built International and b) that, as a member/manager of the LLC, he was not a proper party defendant to this litigation. After a hearing, the trial court granted Mr. Killen's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiffs' claims against him.

The plaintiffs appeal, asserting that the trial court " erred in granting the Motion for Summary Judgment when Ken Killen was personally liable as a manufacturer of the deer stand."

Discussion

Summary Judgment


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