KHIRY COSEY ON BEHALFOF HER MINOR CHILDREN, CORBIN HILLIARD AND ALLYSSA HILLIARD, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE OF REGINALD HILLIARD, JR; TIARA LIGGINS ON BEHALF OF HER MINOR CHILD, TAKHIREE HILLIARD, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE OF REGINALD HILLIARD, JR., TUKEYA JARVIS INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THOMAS HILLIARD, AND DOROTHY JARVIS
FLIGHT ACADEMY OF NEW ORLEANS, LLC, JAZZ AVIATION, LLC, QBE INSURANCE CORPORATION, CHRISTIANSEN AVIATION, INC., ABC INSURANCE COMPANY, SIGNATURE FLIGHT SUPPORT CORPORATION, ALLIANZ GLOBAL CORPORATE & SPECIALTY SE, THE ESTATE OF JAMES BIONDO, AND DEF INSURANCE COMPANY
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2016-09317,
DIVISION "G-11" Honorable Robin M. Giarrusso, Judge
Roderick "Rico" Alvendia Jeanne K. Demarest Kurt A.
Offner ALVENDIA, KELLY & DEMAREST, L.L.C., Cleo Fields
THE FIELDS LAW FIRM, LLC, Ike Spears ATTORNEY AT LAW COUNSEL
Raymond McAloon, III Megan A. Cambre GIEGER, LABORDE &
LAPEROUSE, Cyril Gros Lowe, Jr. Wilson Elser Moskowitz
Edelman & Dicker, LLP, Darrell K. Cherry DEUTSCH
KERRIGAN, LLP COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Regina Bartholomew
Woods, Judge Terrel J. Broussard, Pro Tempore
Bartholomew Woods, Judge.
negligence case, Dorothy Jarvis, Tukeya Jarvis, and Thomas
Hilliard (collectively, "Appellants") appeal the
district court's grant of the peremptory exception of no
cause of action as to their claim for bystander damages under
La. C.C. art. 2315.6 filed by Defendant, the Estate of James
Biondo ("Defendant"). Defendant filed the
exception, along with dilatory exceptions of vagueness and
ambiguity, as well as lack of procedural capacity, in
response to Appellants' petition for damages, in which
Appellants sought bystander damages. On appeal, Appellants
assert that their petition sets forth a valid bystander claim
for each of them. Because we find that Appellants'
petition fails to state a cause of action for bystander
relief, but that factual deficiencies in the petition warrant
its amendment, we vacate, as to allow Appellants to amend
their petition for damages, and remand for further
September 15, 2016, Appellants filed suit in Orleans Parish
Civil District Court against various defendants based on Mr.
Biondo's failure to properly inspect, operate, pilot,
navigate, and/or take such reasonable action to prevent the
airplane crash, as well as the infliction of mental anguish
and emotional distress pursuant to La. C.C. art. 2315.6,
commonly referred to as bystander damages.
November 24, 2016, Defendant filed peremptory exceptions of
no cause of action and no right of action, and dilatory
exceptions of vagueness and ambiguity, as well as lack of
procedural capacity as to Appellants' claims pursuant to
La. C.C. art. 2315.6. On January 20, 2016, the district court
granted the exception of no cause of action and dismissed,
with prejudice, all claims brought by Appellants. On January
30, 2017, the district court signed a Judgment on Exception
and ordered all claims of Appellants dismissed with
prejudice. In granting the exception of no cause of action,
the district court dismissed as moot the exceptions of no
right of action and vagueness. It is from this judgment that
Appellants now appeal.
August 27, 2016, Briana Davis ("Ms. Davis") made a
reservation for herself and her boyfriend, Reginald Hilliard,
Jr. ("Decedent"), with Flight Academy of New
Orleans, LLC and/or Jazz Aviation, LLC for a "Big Easy
Lights at Night" aerial tour of the City of New Orleans.
Later that same evening, Ms. Davis and Decedent departed the
New Orleans Lakefront Airport for the aerial tour in a Cessna
172, which was piloted by James Biondo ("Mr.
Biondo"). At the completion of the tour, as the plane
was approaching the runway, the plane disappeared from the
airport's radar and crashed into Lake Pontchartrain, sank
underwater, and caused the eventual death of Decedent.
allege that they came upon the scene of the subject crash of
the Cessna 172 immediately after and witnessed the retrieval
of the subject aircraft and the removal of Decedent.
of law are reviewed by the appellate court under the de
novo standard of review. Land v. Vidrine,
2010-1342, p. 4 (La. 3/15/11), 62 So.3d 36, 39. An exception
of no cause of action raises a question of law; therefore, a
district court's judgment relating to this exception is
reviewed by the appellate court de novo. Ramey
v. DeCaire, 2003-12999, p. 7 (La. 03/19/04), 869 So.2d
114, 118. "The pertinent question is whether, in the
light most favorable to plaintiff and with every doubt