CLAUDIA LARIOS AND MARLON E. FUNEZ
JULIO GOMEZ MARTINEZ AND IMPERIAL FIRE AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY
APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 751-166, DIVISION
"O" HONORABLE DANYELLE M. TAYLOR, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, CLAUDIA LARIOS AND MARLON E.
FUNEZ Miguel A. Elias Paula J. Ferreira Rolando A. Padilla
Jahida L. Lewis Robert W. Goeke Pablo C. Perez Luna Elizabeth
A. Zavala Adam M. Klock Mario D. Zavala, Jr.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, IMPERIAL FIRE AND CASUALTY
INSURANCE COMPANY Paul D. Oberle, Jr.
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and
Stephen J. Windhorst
M. CHEHARDY, CHIEF JUDGE.
personal injury case arising from an automobile collision,
defendant, Imperial Fire and Casualty Insurance Company,
appeals the district court's June 14, 2017 judgment in
favor of plaintiffs, Claudia Larios and Marlon Funez. After
review, we find Imperial is entitled to partial relief, and
accordingly amend in part the district court's judgment,
and affirm as amended.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
evening of August 4, 2014, Claudia Larios was idling in her
vehicle, waiting for a parking spot to open up in the lot of
her apartment complex on Division Street in Metairie,
Louisiana. Marlon Funez was in the passenger seat. Lindsay
Vehorn, another resident in the complex, was stopped behind
plaintiffs in her sport utility vehicle, a Honda Element. A
white Dodge pickup truck rounded a corner from behind Ms.
Vehorn's SUV and attempted to get in front of her,
evidently not seeing plaintiffs in their sedan, a Hyundai
Azera. The right front of the truck struck the rear left of
Ms. Larios' vehicle. The passenger of the truck exited
and tried to speak with plaintiffs, but was noticeably
intoxicated. Ms. Larios was able to get a look at the driver
of the truck before he abruptly drove away moments later. Ms.
Larios called the police.
plaintiffs described the truck as white, Ms. Vehorn stated in
her deposition that it was black or dark in color. Ms. Vehorn
also stated that she was familiar with the truck from around
the apartment complex and knew the driver lived there. She
described the truck as a nuisance, explaining that the driver
seemed to frequently come home drunk, taking up two or three
parking spots with the truck bed full of empty beer cans.
after the collision, Ms. Larios encountered the passenger
from the truck, to whom she gave her contact information with
the request that it be passed along to the driver. Ms. Larios
testified that thereafter, an individual who identified
himself as Julio Martinez and whom she recognized as the
driver of the truck provided her with documentation of his
insurance. According to Ms. Larios, this individual also told
her that he never meant to damage her car, that he left the
scene because he was intoxicated, that he knew she had called
the police, and that he already had a DWI.
result of the collision, Ms. Larios sought medical treatment
for her neck and lower back; Mr. Funez sought treatment for
his neck, lower back, and right knee. On July 7, 2015,
plaintiffs filed a petition for damages, naming as defendants
Julio Gomez Martinez and his insurer, Imperial Fire and
Casualty Insurance Company. Plaintiffs were unable to locate
and serve Mr. Martinez. Consequently, on April 20, 2017, the
parties entered into a joint stipulation, whereby plaintiffs
voluntarily dismissed all claims against Mr. Martinez and
reserved all claims against Imperial pursuant to
Louisiana's Direct Action Statute, La. R.S. 22:1269.
matter proceeded to a bench trial on May 17, 2017 and the
court issued its judgment on June 14, 2017. The court ruled
in favor of plaintiffs and against Imperial. Ms. Larios was
awarded $6, 218 in past medical expenses and $15, 100 in past
pain and suffering, for a total of $21, 318. Mr. Funez was
awarded $5, 267 in past medical expenses and $16, 000 in past
pain and suffering, for a total of $21, 267. In its judgment,
the court specifically ordered Imperial to pay plaintiffs
these amounts. Imperial's timely suspensive appeal
appeal, Imperial assigns four errors:
(1) The trial court erred in allowing Claudia Lorios to
testify as to what she was told and/or the information she
was allegedly provided on a sheet of paper (which she could
not produce), over the hearsay objections of the appellant.
(2) The trial court erred in allowing the plaintiffs to
introduce an A&B Inspection Report which had never been
produced through discovery or identified by the plaintiffs on
the pretrial order where said document contained inadmissible
(3) The court erred in finding the plaintiffs proved through
admissible evidence the identity of the tortfeasor, that he
was an insured of Imperial, and that he ...