[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
APPEAL FROM ST. BERNARD 34TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT. NO. 117-041, DIVISION " E" . Honorable Jacques A. Sanborn, Judge.
Roderick A. James, Morris Bart, LLC, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.
William M. McGoey, Scott M. Smith, Cory S. Grant, Chalmette, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.
(Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Roland L. Belsome).
Edwin A. Lombard, J.
[2014-0900 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] The Appellants, Alfred Ronsonette and his wife, Darrall Ronsonette (" Mrs. Ronsonette" ), seek review of the March 10, 2014 judgment of the district court awarding him $10,155.76, inclusive of general damages and medical expenses, plus legal interest, as a result of injuries he sustained as a passenger on a St. Bernard Urban Rapid Transit bus operated by defendant Edith Cantrell (" Ms. Cantrell" ). The Appellants further seek review of the denial of Mrs. Ronsonette's loss of consortium claim. Finding that the district court abused its discretion, we vacate the award of the district court, and award Mr. Ronsonette $16,567.53 in past medical expenses and $9,000 for general damages, together with interest from date of judicial demand. Additionally, we reverse the district court's denial of Mrs. Ronsonette's loss of consortium claim and award her $1,000, with legal interest from date of judicial demand. Lastly, we deny the answer to appeal of the Appellee, St. Bernard Parish Government (" St. Bernard" ).
[2014-0900 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] Facts
In February 2010, while a passenger on a St. Bernard bus driven by Ms. Cantrell, Mr. Ronsonette was injured while seated in his electric wheelchair located in the rear of the bus. Mr. Ronsonette, who was 56 years old at the time of the February 2010 accident (" the accident" ), boarded the bus while seated in his wheelchair using a lift operated by Ms. Cantrell. After boarding the bus, Mr. Ronsonette parked his wheelchair between two seats with his back to the rear wall. It is undisputed that Ms. Cantrell did not use restraints to tie-down Mr. Ronsonette's wheelchair to the bus. Consequently, Mr. Ronsonette's wheelchair later toppled when Ms. Cantrell made a right turn. Mr. Ronsonette fell to his right side on the bus floor while still strapped into his wheelchair. He was transported from the bus by ambulance to the emergency room at Tulane University Hospital (" Tulane" ).
The Appellants later filed suit against Ms. Cantrell and her employer, St. Bernard, for injuries Mr. Ronsonette sustained in the accident and for loss of consortium
of Mrs. Ronsonette. A bench trial was held in September 2013. The district court rendered judgment awarding Mr. Ronsonette damages in the amount of $10,155.76, inclusive of general damages and medical expenses, plus legal interest. The district court also dismissed the claims of Mrs. Ronsonette for loss of consortium.
[2014-0900 La.App. 4 Cir. 3] This timely appeal followed, and the Appellants raise ...