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Alexander v. Hancock Bank

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

February 8, 2017

SYBIL ALEXANDER
v.
HANCOCK BANK D/B/A WHITNEY BANK, CHUBB INSURANCE COMPANY, A-1 SERVICE AND UNITED FIRE GROUP

         APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2014-04864, DIVISION "L-6" Honorable Kern A. Reese, Judge

         AFFIRMED

          Bobby Ray T. Malbrough R. Ray Orrill, Jr. William Christopher Beary Alexandre L.M. Ducros ORRILL CORDELL & BEARY, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT

          Alexander Richard Saunders PELLETERI & WIEDORN, L.L.C. James Walter Hailey, III LEWIS BRISBOIS BISGAARD & SMITH, LLP COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES.

          Court composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Regina Bartholomew Woods

          Regina Bartholomew Woods Judge.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This is a personal injury suit arising out of a trip and fall on a mat in the lobby of a bank. On May 17, 2013, Plaintiff, Sybil Alexander ("Ms. Alexander"), made a routine visit to the Whitney Bank located at 228 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana. Upon exiting the lobby of the bank, Ms. Alexander alleges that she tripped and fell over a "wave" or "lip" in the rubber edge of the floor mat. As a result, she fell forward, striking her head on the door resulting in a large gash. She also tore her lateral and medial meniscus in her left knee.

         On May 16, 2014, Ms. Alexander filed this suit against Hancock Bank d/b/a Whitney Bank ("Whitney"), and A-1 Services, Inc. ("A-1"), as the supplier of the commercial floor mat to Whitney.[1] On January 4, 2016, Whitney filed a motion for summary judgment on liability. A-1 likewise filed a motion for summary judgment. On February 19, 2016, the trial court granted the motions for summary judgment on liability in favor of Whitney and A-1. Ms. Alexander filed this appeal from the trial court's rulings.

         DISCUSSION

         In her appellate brief, Ms. Alexander presents a number of assignments of error and issues for review. We frame the issues presented as two-fold:

1. Whether the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants was appropriate.
2. Whether the trial court applied the appropriate substantive law in evaluating the defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         Here, we must determine whether the trial court's grant of summary judgment in Whitney's favor was appropriate. An appellate court conducts a de novo review, applying the same criteria that govern the trial court's determination of whether summary judgment is appropriate. Brown v. Amar Oil Co., 2011-1631, p. 2 (La.App. 1 Cir. 11/8/12), 110 So.3d 1089, 1090 (citing Sanders v. Ashland Oil, Inc., 96-1751, p. 6 (La.App. 1 Cir. 6/20/97), 696 So.2d 1031, 1035). A motion for summary judgment should only be granted if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions, together with any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Collins v. Randall, 2002-0209, p. 3 (La.App. 1 Cir. 12/20/02), 836 So.2d 352, 354. The summary judgment procedure is designed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of actions. King v. Allen Court ...


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