United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
M. AFRICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a motion for partial summary judgment filed by
defendants Clarke Power Services, Inc. d.b.a. VehiCare
(“VehiCare”) and its insurer Continental Casualty
Company (“CCC”) regarding the plaintiff's
ability to recover certain medical expenses for herself and
her minor children. For the following reasons, the motion is
22, 2015, Rahn Taylor was killed in an automobile crash on
Interstate 12 between Lacombe and Slidell, Louisiana. At the
time of the accident, Taylor was driving a tractor-trailer
owned by his employer, Crescent City Distributing
(“CCD”), which had contracted with VehiCare for
the inspection and maintenance of its tractor-trailer fleet.
The crash allegedly resulted from a sudden tire failure on
the right front steering axle.
wife filed the present lawsuit on behalf of herself and her
minor children, claiming that VehiCare was negligent in
failing to properly inspect and maintain the tractor-trailer
driven by her husband at the time of his death. Mrs. Taylor
seeks a variety of damages including physical pain and
suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish, loss of
love and affection, loss of earnings and/or support, and loss
of consortium. As pertinent here, she also seeks to recover
certain medical and medical-related expenses for herself and
her minor children. In this regard, she has produced three
life care plans that contain detailed estimates of her
family's future medical and medical-related needs.
life care plan for Mrs. Taylor provides for $11, 389 for
various evaluations; $30, 550 for future medical care; $485,
100 for home child care services; $389, 363.80 for
medications; $518, 250 for plan administration; and $167, 600
for therapeutic modalities such as psychotherapy and family
therapy for a total of $1, 602, 252.80.The life care plan
for Mrs. Taylor's son, Rahn, Jr., provides for $19, 373
for various evaluations; $38, 493 for future medical care;
$22, 990 for home care case management; $344, 841.04 for
medications; $465, 500 for plan administration; and $282, 466
for therapeutic modalities including speech therapy,
psychotherapy, occupational therapy, and tutorial services
for a total of $1, 173, 663.04. The life care plan for Mrs.
Taylor's daughter, Rhiana, who is autistic and suffers
from a genetic disorder, provides for $48, 198 for various
evaluations; $43, 992 for future medical care; $31, 253, 125
for facility care; $2, 369, 235 for home attendant care and
case management; $974, 500 for plan administration; and $596,
376 for therapeutic modalities including speech therapy,
psychotherapy, occupational therapy, and tutorial services
for a total of $35, 285, 426. The total for all three life care
plans is a staggering $38, 064, 341.84.
and CCC now seek summary judgment that these anticipated
expenses are not recoverable as damages in a wrongful death
judgment is proper when, after reviewing the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits, the court determines that there is no genuine
dispute of material fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
“[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the
record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The party seeking
summary judgment need not produce evidence negating the
existence of material fact, but need only point out the
absence of evidence supporting the other party's case.
Id.; Fontenot v. Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d 1190,
1195 (5th Cir. 1986).
the party seeking summary judgment carries its burden, the
nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts showing
that there is a genuine dispute of material fact for trial.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The showing of a genuine issue is
not satisfied by creating “‘some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts, ' by ‘conclusory
allegations, ' by ‘unsubstantiated assertions,
' or by only a ‘scintilla' of evidence.”
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). Instead, a genuine issue of
material fact exists when the “evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “Although the substance or
content of the evidence submitted to support or dispute a
fact on summary judgment must be admissible . . ., the
material may be presented in a form that would not, in
itself, be admissible at trial.” Lee v. Offshore
Logistical and Transp., LLC, 859 F.3d 353, 355 (5th Cir.
2017) (quotation omitted).
party responding to the motion for summary judgment may not
rest upon the pleadings but must identify specific facts that
establish a genuine issue. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248. The nonmoving party's evidence, however,
“is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are
to be drawn in [the nonmoving party's] favor.”
Id. at 255; see also Hunt v. Cromartie, 526
U.S. 541, 552 (1999).
Louisiana law, “[i]f a person dies due to the fault of
another, suit may be brought by [the surviving spouse and . .
. children of the deceased] to recover damages which they
sustained as a result of the death.” La. Civ. Code art.
2315.2. “Wrongful death damages are meant to compensate
the designated survivors for their loss of the
decedent.” Salama v. State of La., 211 So.3d
396, 399 (La. Ct. App. 1st Cir. 2017). “The elements of
damage for a wrongful death action are loss of love,
affection, companionship, services, support, medical expenses
and funeral expenses. Additionally, the courts have allowed
damages in wrongful death actions for mental pain, suffering,
and distress resulting from the death of the
victim.”Hill v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co.,
935 So.2d 691, 695 (La. 2006). Furthermore, “[d]amages
awarded for wrongful death are general damages since the
value of the loss is not subject to a pecuniary
calculation.” Leary v. State Farm ...