United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
WILBERT J. SAUCIER, JR.,
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE CO.
JUDGE JOSEPH PEREZ-MONTES
G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
William J. Saucier, Jr. (“Saucier”), brought this
personal injury lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle accident
against Defendants State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
Company and State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
(collectively “State Farm”).
trial was held March 20-21, 2017. The parties made closing
arguments, but waived the filing of post-trial briefs. The
Court then took the matter under advisement.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Court hereby enters the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law. To the extent that any finding of fact
constitutes a conclusion of law, the Court hereby adopts it
as such, and to the extent that any conclusion of law
constitutes a finding of fact, the Court hereby adopts it as
FINDINGS OF FACT
September 5, 2013, at the intersection of La. Hwy. 28 and the
U.S. 167 on-ramp in Pineville, Louisiana, a motor vehicle
accident occurred between a 2005 Jaguar VDP automobile
operated by Saucier and a 2005 Ford Taurus operated by
Aleisha Tilley (“Tilley”). Just prior to the
accident, Saucier was driving in a westerly direction in the
left lane of Hwy. 28 traveling thirty to thirty-five miles
per hour. Tilley was driving on Hwy. 28 in an easterly
direction for approximately two blocks before she merged into
the left-hand turn lane to enter the U.S. 167
Saucier's vehicle approached the intersection,
Tilley's vehicle yielded at the yield sign at the median
of the intersection between U.S. 167's on and off ramps
and Hwy. 28. Tilley waited a short period of time for
oncoming traffic traveling in a westerly direction on Hwy. 28
to pass. Tilley then began crossing Hwy. 28 before Saucier
had safely proceeded through the intersection.
testified that he “stood on his brakes” in an
attempt to avoid hitting Tilley's vehicle, but was
unsuccessful. In the collision, the front of the vehicle
operated by Saucier impacted the right rear fender of
Tilley's vehicle. The damage to both vehicles was minor
and no air bags deployed in either vehicle. Officer Sabrina
Farace arrived on the scene and completed an accident report.
the accident, Saucier traveled to his office and called Dr.
Robert Rush, a general practitioner, to schedule an
appointment. Dr. Rush was able to examine him later that day.
Saucier relayed complaints of shoulder and neck pain,
specifically that his right shoulder was
“popping.” Dr. Rush conducted an exam on
Saucier's right shoulder and concluded he had a positive
O'Brien maneuver test, which indicated Saucier may have a
tissue tear in his shoulder. Dr. Rush recommended conservative
treatment, which included a nonsteroidal inflammatory, a
muscle relaxer, and physical therapy with Oday Laverge, P.T.
series of visits with Dr. Rush and physical therapy
appointments with Mr. Laverge, Saucier continued to report
pain in his neck and right shoulder and continued to have
positive O'Brien maneuver tests.
December 5, 2013, Dr. Rush ordered an MRI of Saucier's
shoulder. The MRI revealed that the long head of
Saucier's right bicep was torn. The MRI also revealed
that Saucier had tendinosis of the supraspinatus and a tear
of the subscapular part of the rotator cuff. After reviewing
the MRI, Dr. Rush referred Saucier to Dr. Felix Savoie.
Savoie performed tests on Saucier and reviewed his MRI,
concluding that they were consistent with a labral tear, a
rotator cuff tear and a bicep injury. In February 2014, Dr.
Savoie initially recommended surgery, but Saucier declined
surgery at that time.
September 23, 2014, Dr. Rush concluded that Saucier was at or
near maximum medical improvement, and it appeared that his
shoulder would not regain its pre-accident status without
surgical intervention. Saucier still elected to continue
conservative treatment, rather than schedule surgery.
elected to wait until July 18, 2016 to have the surgery
performed. Dr. Savoie testified that the delay in surgery
caused the development of a partial tear in the supraspinatus
tendon. However, Dr. Savoie also testified that continuing
conservative treatment was an acceptable mode of treatment.
October 2, 2012, prior to the September 5, 2013 motor vehicle
accident, Saucier suffered an injury to his right shoulder as
a result of pulling a water filter at his camp. Dr. Rush and
Mr. Laverge testified that Saucier was prescribed physical
therapy and subsequently discharged to at-home
rehabilitation. Mr. Lavergne testified that the 2012 incident
caused an AC joint strain, different from the injuries
Saucier experienced after the 2013 motor vehicle accident.
Also, Dr. Savoie testified that Saucier's present
shoulder injuries were not consistent with the 2012 pulling
Vallery, Saucier's sister, and Nancy Stokes stayed with
and cared for Saucier after surgery. During this time,
Saucier was heavily medicated on pain medication and required
assistance with daily activities. Additionally, Saucier, a
avid sportsman, was unable to hunt and fish.
result of the accident, Saucier incurred $48, 810.69 in
medical bills and $3, 320.40 in property damage. Dr. Lavergne
testified that he expects Saucier to incur $7, 200 in future
medical expenses for physical therapy. Mr. Joseph Wayne
Gaspard, Saucier's accountant, testified that
Saucier's solo law practice generated $4, 910,
327 in the
fiscal years 2010 through 2014.
time of the collision, Saucier had in full force and effect a
policy of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage issued by
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., under policy
number 600 1205-F18-18K, affording coverage to Saucier in the
amount of $250, 000.00 dollars, to the extent that
Saucier's damages exceed the underlying coverage afforded
by the Go Auto Insurance Company to Tilley. Saucier also had
in full force and effect a policy of umbrella
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage issued by State Farm
Fire and Casualty Company, under policy number 18-BA-7476-9,
and affording coverage to Saucier in the amount of $2, 000,
000.00 dollars, to the extent that Saucier's ...