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Moreland v. Gungor

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit

April 15, 2015

AMANDA MORELAND, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
ABDULLAH GUNGOR AND FARMERS TEXAS COUNTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellees

Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 141374. Honorable Jeffrey Stephen Cox, Judge.

OFFICE OF F.Q. HOOD, JR., APLC, By: Furniss Quinn Hood, Jr., Christopher C. Broughton, Counsel for Appellant.

LUNN, IRION, SALLEY, CARLISLE & GARDNER, By: Alexander J. Mijalis, Counsel for Appellees.

Before BROWN, WILLIAMS and MOORE, JJ.

OPINION

Page 826

MOORE, J.

[49,671 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] Amanda Moreland appeals a judgment that dismissed her auto accident claim on a finding that the other driver, Dr. Abdullah Gungor, was not at fault. Finding no manifest error, we affirm.

On the late afternoon of November 3, 2012, both Dr. Gungor and Ms. Moreland exited I-20 at Benton Road in Bossier City and were driving north toward Benton Spur. Dr. Gungor was ahead in his red 2011 BMW 328i, Ms. Moreland behind in her blue 2009 Chevy Cobalt. Just before the light at Benton Spur, however, the cars collided. The BMW sustained damage on the driver's side rear quarter panel, and ended up in the left traffic lane. The Cobalt sustained damage on the passenger side front quarter panel, and ended up in the left-turn lane. Fortunately the impact was not severe, but there were divergent accounts of how it happened.

Officer James Stewart, of the Bossier City Police Department, interviewed the parties and wrote the accident report. This stated that Ms. Moreland said the BMW " suddenly came into her lane and they crashed" and that Dr. Gungor said he " swerved into the left lane" to avoid hitting another vehicle that had stopped suddenly in front of him. Despite the obvious fact that the damage was to the rear of the BMW, Officer Stewart wrote, " He [Dr. Gungor] crashed into the Vehicle Two [Ms. Moreland]."

Apparently on the strength of the accident report, Ms. Moreland filed this suit in the 26th JDC in March 2013. She admitted that her damages did not exceed the

Page 827

$50,000 threshold for a jury trial, and at trial in April 2014, she stipulated that her special damages were $4,053.92.

Sergeant James Johnson, also of the BCPD, responded to the accident. [49,671 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] He testified that Ms. Moreland told him she was driving in the left lane, the BMW changed lanes in front of her, and she hit it; Dr. Gungor told him he changed lanes and was struck by the Cobalt. Sgt. Johnson felt these accounts were consistent, but admitted that the property damage to the vehicles was more consistent with the BMW being stationary at the light and the Cobalt rear-ending it.

Officer Stewart, author of the accident report, also testified at trial, but remembered the incident chiefly from his report. He added that Dr. Gungor said he had changed lanes some 100 yards before the intersection, and he felt that Ms. Moreland probably " wasn't paying attention." A dash cam in Officer Stewart's ...


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