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White v. Normand

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 31, 2017

KIM WHITE
v.
NEWELL NORMAND, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SHERIFF OF JEFFERSON PARISH AND PAUL GEGENHEIMER

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 710-084, DIVISION "O" HONORABLE DANYELLE M. TAYLOR, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, KIM WHITE Gary W. Bizal.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, NEWELL NORMAND, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SHERIFF OF JEFFERSON PARISH AND PAUL GEGENHEIMER Edmund W. Golden.

          Panel composed of Robert A. Chaisson, Robert M. Murphy, and Hans J. Liljeberg

         AFFIRMED

         RMM

         RAC

         HJL

          ROBERT M. MURPHY JUDGE.

         Plaintiff/Appellant, Kim White, appeals the trial court's judgment following trial which found no liability on the part of defendants for her injuries and dismissed the case with prejudice. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         At trial, Kim White testified that on January 12, 2011, she was in front of a convenience store located on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish, when she was approached by a man she "knew from around the neighborhood" who asked if she could help him to purchase heroin. White got into the passenger seat of the car that the man was driving and the two went in search of drugs. Soon thereafter, White and the driver noticed that a police car with its lights on was behind them, at which time the driver "took off."[1] White testified that she told the driver to stop the car so that she could get out. After a high speed chase with the police vehicle, the driver of the car went into a parking lot and "stopped." White said that after the car stopped, the driver ran away and she exited the car with her hands up to show police that she was not trying to run. White stated that she was attempting to get to the back of the car so that police could see her when the police vehicle drove up quickly and made contact with her. As a result, White sustained multiple injuries, which she described in her testimony, and also incurred medical expenses. She was later charged with resisting arrest by flight and possession of drug paraphernalia.

         On cross-examination, White testified that she only saw one police car during the pursuit, and that the police car's overhead lights and siren were both activated. White testified that she had her hands up at the time of the accident, which conflicted with her prior deposition testimony. White's medical records showed that she had marijuana in her system on the date of the accident, but she did not believe that the drugs interfered with her memory of the events surrounding the accident. White also testified that she was a heroin user, and had used heroin on January 12, 2011, at approximately 9:30 or 10:00 a.m.

         Deputy Paul Gegenheimer testified that he was involved in a car chase on January 12, 2011. At the end of the pursuit, Deputy Gegenheimer tried to maneuver his own vehicle to "box" the other car in, but the other car stopped abruptly and he was unable to avoid a collision. He ran into White, who was "very close" to the side of the stolen vehicle and appeared to be running away. Deputy Gegenheimer did not know if he hit White before he hit the stolen vehicle, and he was going five to 10 miles per hour at the time of the impact. It was not his intent to run into White. Deputy Gegenheimer stated that, at the time of the accident, he was not disobeying any traffic laws, speed limits or other "regulations."

         On cross-examination, Deputy Gegenheimer testified that he activated his emergency lights and siren after receiving the radio call about a stolen vehicle. After Deputy Johnnie Petit, Jr., who was the first officer in pursuit, said on the radio that the stolen car had refused to stop, Deputy Gegenheimer headed to Deputy Pettit's location to join in the pursuit. During the chase, both Deputy Gegenheimer and Deputy Petit drove above the posted speed limit. Eventually, the stolen car exited the roadway and went into the parking lot of an apartment complex. It was there that Deputy Petit got in front of the stolen car. At that time, Deputy Gegenheimer's intention was to block the car in by ...


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