from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish
of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. 139512 Honorable Jeff
SIMMONS, MORRIS & CARROLL, L.L.C. By: G. Adam Savoie
Brandon T. Morris Counsel for Appellant.
LANDRY Attorney General RONALD F. LATTIER Special Assistant
Attorney General Counsel for Appellee.
WILLIAMS, PITMAN, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.
plaintiff, Stephanie Trippany, appeals a judgment in favor of
the defendants, Bossier Parish Community College and the
State of Louisiana, Board of Supervisors of Community and
Technical Colleges. The jury found that the defendants did
not breach a duty of care owed to the plaintiff. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
19, 2011, the weather was sunny at 3 p.m., when Stephanie
Trippany, a student at Bossier Parish Community College
("BPCC"), arrived at the school. After entering
Building F, Trippany walked approximately ten steps in the
hallway, then slipped and fell in an area near the stairway.
A short time earlier, BPCC employees and students had been
carrying theatre equipment from outside to the second floor
of Building F when a brief rain shower occurred. Some pieces
of equipment were placed next to the stairway to get them out
of the rain before being taken upstairs. A BPCC custodian,
Miranda Wallace, had assisted with bringing in the theatre
equipment and was returning to the front entry area when she
heard a scream. Wallace noticed a small puddle of water next
to the stairs and saw Trippany sitting on the floor several
feet away. Wallace contacted a security officer, Steve
Porter, who responded to the accident scene. Porter wrote in
his report that he observed a small puddle of water on the
floor next to the stairs and spoke with Trippany, who said
she had injured her left knee after slipping in water and
falling. She later sought medical treatment for her left
knee. Porter also spoke with Wallace and wrote that the
equipment brought in from the rain was the source of the
water he had seen on the floor. At the time of the accident,
BPCC's safety policy required employees to guard against
water that drips onto the floor from wet items brought in
after a rain shower.
the plaintiff, Stephanie Trippany, filed a petition for
damages against the defendants, BPCC and the State of
Louisiana, Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical
Colleges (collectively, "BPCC"). The parties filed
summary judgment motions, which were denied by the district
court. After a trial, the jury found that BPCC had not
breached the duty of care owed to plaintiff. The trial court
rendered judgment in favor of BPCC in accordance with the
jury verdict. Plaintiff appeals the judgment.
assignments of error, the plaintiff contends the jury erred
in making a determination that is contrary to the evidence
presented. Plaintiff argues that BPCC employees breached the
duty owed to her because they failed to remove the water from
the floor contrary to defendant's safety policy.
individual is responsible for the damage caused by things in
his custody. La. C.C. art. 2317. The owner of a thing is
answerable for damage caused by its defect only upon a
showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care,
should have known of the defect which caused the damage, that
the damage could have been prevented by the use of reasonable
care and that he failed to exercise such care. La. C.C. art.
2317.1. No person shall have a cause of action based upon the
liability imposed under Article 2317 against a public entity
for damages caused by the condition of things within its care
and custody unless the public entity had actual or
constructive notice of the particular defect which caused the
damage prior to the occurrence, and the public entity has had
a reasonable opportunity to remedy the defect and failed to
do so. La. R.S. 9:2800(C).
the duty-risk analysis, a plaintiff must prove that the
defendant owed a duty to conform his conduct to a specific
standard of care (duty element); defendant failed to conform
his conduct to the appropriate standard of care (breach of
duty element); defendant's substandard conduct was a
cause of plaintiff's injuries; and damages. Daigle v.
City of Shreveport, 46, 429 (La.App. 2 Cir. 10/5/11), 78
So.3d 753; Pamplin v. Bossier Parish Community
College, 38, 533 (La.App. 2 Cir. 7/14/04), 878 So.2d
889. Factual determinations by a trier of fact will not be
disturbed on review in the absence of manifest error based
upon the record as a whole. Rosell v. Esco, 549
So.2d 840 (La. 1989).
present case, Steve Porter testified that in 2011, he was a
security officer at BPCC and he responded to Building F to
investigate plaintiff's fall. Porter stated that he spoke
with plaintiff, who was sitting in a chair at the time, and
with Wallace. Porter testified that he had prepared a report
in which he wrote that he "observed a small puddle of
water on the floor next to the stairs" and that the
plaintiff had "slipped on water that was on the floor
next to the stairway and fell down, " injuring her left
knee. Porter also wrote that he had been "told that
people involved with the theater had just brought in
equipment from outside just after a slight rain shower. This
was how the water got on the floor." In his testimony,
Porter described the water on the floor as "small
droplets of water" covering an area ...