FROM THE 19th JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT EAST BATON ROUGE
PARISH, LOUISIANA DOCKET NUMBER C607627, SECTION 26 HONORABLE
DONALD R. JOHNSON, JUDGE
R. Matthews Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney for
Plaintiff/Appellee Vicki Badeaux
Landry Attorney General and Maynard K. Batiste, Sr. Assistant
Attorney General Attorneys for Defendant/ Appellant State of
Louisiana through the Louisiana Department of Economic
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McDONAI.D, AND CHUTZ, JJ.
appeal, a state entity appeals a judgment finding it liable
for damages to an actress the entity hired to film an
informational video. The actress was injured when the stand
upon which she was instructed to hang her extra clothing
toppled and struck her on the head. We affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
December 14, 2010, Vicki Badeaux was scheduled to perform as
an actress in an informational video filmed by The Louisiana
Department of Economic Development (LDED). As instructed,
Mrs. Badeaux arrived at the set with extra clothing from
which her outfit for the video would be chosen. Mr. James
Dupree, the LDED Fast Start Media Department Manager,
instructed her to hang her extra outfits on a nearby C-stand
so they could review her script before filming. The C-stand
was a general purpose stand having an extendable arm and
typically used for multiple purposes on a movie set. As Mrs.
Badeaux hung her clothes on the C-stand, it tipped over and
struck her on the right side of the head. Mr. Dupree yelled a
warning and caught the C-stand before it fell completely
over, but not before it struck Mrs. Badeaux and knocked her
backward. Mr. Dupree sat Mrs. Badeaux in a nearby chair for
about 15 to 30 minutes, noticed a red bump on her head, and
asked if she needed medical treatment, which she declined.
After Mrs. Badeaux said she could continue, Mr. Dupree chose
her outfit, gave her a script, and her part in the video was
two weeks after the incident, Mrs. Badeaux began to have
sharp, shooting pains in her right temple. Over the next
seven months, she consulted her primary care physician,
underwent brain imaging, and saw two neurologists. In May
2011, she was diagnosed with a mild concussive head injury
and chronic posttraumatic headaches attributable to the
December 2010 incident. She took prescription medication for
a while but experienced side effects and decided to
discontinue the medication. At the time of trial, in December
2016, Mrs. Badeaux testified that she still had sharp
shooting pains in her head.
December 2011, Mrs. Badeaux filed this personal injury suit
against LDED, and the case ultimately proceeded to a bench
trial. At the end of Mrs. Badeaux's case, LDED moved for
an involuntary dismissal, which the district court denied.
LDED proceeded with its case, after which the district court
took the case under advisement. On January 27, 2017, the
district court signed a judgment: (1) finding LDED 75% at
fault and Mrs. Badeaux 25% at fault for her damages; (2)
finding Mrs. Badeaux sustained $8, 345 in special damages and
$41, 655 in general damages; and (3) finding LDED liable to
her for $37, 500 (75% of her total damages), plus interest;
and (4) ordering LDED to pay all court costs.
appeals from the adverse judgment, asserting that the
district court erred: (1) in denying its motion for
involuntary dismissal, and (2) by finding Mrs. Badeaux
sustained $41, 655 in general damages when the evidence
showed that not all of her medical expenses were attributable
to the December 14, 2010 accident.
LDED characterized its motion as one for a directed verdict,
it actually was a motion for involuntary dismissal, since
this matter was tried by a court rather than a jury.
See LSA-C.C.P. arts. 1672 and 1810. Nevertheless,
the error is one of form rather than substance, as the
ultimate object of both motions is the same. Gilmer v.
Parish Sterling Stuckey, 09-0901 (La.App. 1 Cir.
12/23/09), 30 So.3d 782, 785 n.2. Under LSA-C.C.P. art.
1672B, after the plaintiff has presented his evidence, any
party may move for dismissal of the action on the ground
that, upon the facts and law, the plaintiff has shown no
right to relief. The district court may then determine the
facts and render judgment against the plaintiff and in favor
of the moving party or may decline to render any judgment
until the close of all the evidence. The district court's
purely discretionary decision to deny a motion for
involuntary dismissal at the close of a plaintiffs case
leaves nothing for this court to review on appeal.
Pierrotti v. Johnson, 16-0204 (La.App. 1 Cir.
10/28/16), 2016 WL 6330423 at *12 (unpublished), writ
denied, 17-0002 (La. 2/10/17), 216 So.3d 47;
Townsend v. Delchamps, Inc., 94-1511 (La.App. 1 Cir.
10/06/95), 671 So.2d 513, 514 n.1, writ denied,
95-2648 (La. 1/12/96), 667 So.2d 522.
the district court, in its discretion, denied LDED's
motion to dismiss and heard all of the evidence presented
before rendering its decision on the merits. Thus, we have
nothing to review on appeal with regard to that ruling. But,
we note that LDED's appeal was expressly taken from the
district court's January 27, 2017 final judgment, which
was rendered after all evidence was presented. And, after
reading LDED's appellate brief, it is clear that
LDED's first assignment of error is a challenge to the
district court's final judgment finding LDED liable to
Mrs. Badeaux rather than just a challenge to the district
court's denial of the motion for involuntary dismissal.
Under LSA-C.C.P. art. 2164, an appellate court shall render