United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
the Court are Defendant's motions for summary judgment,
R. Docs. 39, 53. Defendant Looney & Co Associates
(“Looney”) asks that its motions for summary
judgment be granted, dismissing Looney from the suit with
prejudice and at Plaintiffs' cost. Plaintiffs respond in
opposition to Defendant Looney's first motion. R. Doc.
55. Co-Defendants respond in opposition to Defendant
Looney's second motion. R. Doc. 45. Having considered the
parties' arguments, submissions, and the applicable law,
the Court now issues this Order and Reasons.
case arises from injuries Plaintiff Anita Freudenthal
(“Mrs. Freudenthal”) sustained on May 30, 2016,
at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (“the Hotel”) located
at 601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. R. Doc. 1-4 at
2. Mrs. Freudenthal brings this case along with her husband,
Hugo Freudenthal (“Mr. Freudenthal” and together,
the “Freudenthals” or “Plaintiffs”)
against Poydras Properties, LLC (“Poydras
Properties”), Ares Management, LLC
(“Ares”), Tudor Insurance Company
(“Tudor”), Poydras Hotel Members, LLC
(“PHM”), Poydras Properties Hotel Holdings Co.
LLC (“PPHH”), Hyatt Hotels Corporation
(“Hyatt Hotels”), Hyatt Louisiana, LLC
(“Hyatt Louisiana”), and Looney & Associates,
LLC (“Looney” and together,
Freudenthal alleges that, as she entered the 8 Block
Restaurant of the Hotel, a protruding edge of a bench or
banquette caused her to trip and fall onto her left side. R.
Doc. 1-4 at 2. Plaintiffs filed suit against the Defendants
in Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. Defendants
removed the case on the basis of diversity jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. R. Doc. 1 at 2.
Freudenthal alleges that she sustained severe personal
injuries as a result of Defendants' negligence, including
sustained damage to her hip, knee, leg, and head. R. Doc. 1-4
at 2. She specifically claims that the placement of the
furniture was negligent under La. Civ. Code arts. 2315, 2316,
and 2317.1. R. Doc. 1-4 at 3. Plaintiff states her injuries
required a total hip replacement which required nine days in
the hospital and continuing rehabilitation and physical
therapy. R. Doc. 1-4 at 2. She now seeks to hold Defendants
liable for pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical
expenses, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life and
society. R. Doc. 1-4 at 3-4. Mr. Freudenthal was an
eyewitness to Mrs. Freudenthal's accident and seeks
recovery for emotional distress and mental anguish,
recoverable loss of consortium and society, and for all past
and future medical bills. R. Doc. 1-4 at 4. Plaintiffs
additionally contend they are entitled to recover all
expenses associated with their trip to New Orleans, because
they were in town for a cruise but unable to attend due to
Mrs. Freudenthal's accident. R. Doc. 1-4 at 4. On June 7,
2017, Plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their claims against
Poydras Properties, Hyatt Hotels, and Ares without prejudice.
R. Doc. 26.
Defendant Looney's First Motion for Summary Judgment (R.
first motion for summary judgment, Defendant Looney argues
that Plaintiffs' claims against Looney are barred by the
five year preemptive period under Louisiana Revised Statute
9:5607. R. Doc. 53 at 2. Defendant Looney is the interior
designer hired by the Hotel for renovations following
Hurricane Katrina. Looney argues that it meets all three
potential events that could potentially trigger for the
five-year peremption period. R. Doc. 53-6. First, Looney
asserts that acceptance of its work for this interior design
project was filed by the Hotel's owner into the Orleans
Parish mortgage office on October 13, 2011. R. Doc. 53-6 at
1. Second, Looney asserts that the Hotel was occupied by its
owner and opened for business on October 19, 2011. R. Doc.
53-6 at 2. Third, Looney asserts that based on the affidavit
of James Looney, the services it provided were completed by
October 19, 2011. R. Doc. 53-6 at 3. Because the Plaintiffs
filed the initial lawsuit in the Civil District Court for
Orleans Parish on October 25, 2016, Looney argues that
Plaintiffs failed to file their lawsuit within the peremption
period based on any of the three potential events that could
trigger the period. R. Doc. 53-6 at 6.
Defendant Looney's Second Motion for Summary Judgment (R.
second motion for summary judgment, Defendant Looney argues
that Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that Looney
breached the standard of care of professional interior
designers. R. Doc. 39. Specifically, Looney alleges that the
removal of a table without Looney's consent or
acknowledgment caused or contributed to Plaintiffs'
injuries. R. Doc. 39 at 1-2. Looney argues that in its
original design there was a table in front of the bench or
banquette that Mrs. Freudenthal tripped over. R. Doc. 39-2 at
3. The remaining defendants (“Hotel Defendants”)
admit this table was removed prior to the Hotel's opening
because it hindered the flow of traffic. R. Doc. at 27-2 at
1-2. As established in his deposition, Alex Hill, former Food
and Beverage Director of the Hyatt, made the decision to
remove the table. R. Doc. 39-2 at 3. Looney asserts that
Hill's decision to remove the table was made without any
input or consultation from Looney. R. Doc. 39-1 at 2.
Therefore, Looney argues that Plaintiffs cannot establish
that Looney breached a duty owed to the Plaintiffs or that
any breach caused the Plaintiffs' injuries. R. Doc. 39-2
do not oppose Looney's second motion for summary
judgement. R. Doc. 42 at 1. The Hotel Defendants oppose
Looney's motion. R. Doc. 45.