WINNIFRED H. JACKSON Plaintiff-Appellant
LOWE'S HOME CENTERS, L.L.C., ET AL. Defendant-Appellees
from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish
of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. 147, 324 Honorable Jeff
R. Thompson, Judge
& PIERRE, LLC By: J. Rodney Pierre Counsel for Appellant
TAYLOR, WELLONS, POLITZ & DUHE, APLC By: Chris W. Caswell
D. Scott Rainwater Counsel for Appellees
MOORE, PITMAN, and GARRETT, JJ.
Jackson appeals a partial summary judgment that dismissed her
claim for lost wages and profits arising from the defective
installation of a refrigerator. For the reasons expressed, we
Jackson, an attorney and the proprietor of Good Samaritan
Funeral Home, bought an LG refrigerator from Lowe's Home
Center on Airline Drive in Bossier City in June 2014.
Lowe's employees delivered it to her house, in Oak Alley
Subdivision in Bossier City, on June 13. According to her
petition, Ms. Jackson immediately discovered during the
installation that it was not the counter-depth unit that she
expected. That evening, she went back to Lowe's
and bought another LG fridge, one that would fit properly,
and Lowe's employees delivered it on June 14. When they
removed the first fridge, Ms. Jackson saw a pool of water on
the floor under it and some dampness on the walls around it.
She phoned the store manager, who came out to inspect, and
said the moisture was condensation. The employees wiped up
the puddle and installed the second fridge.
days later, however, Ms. Jackson discovered several planks of
the reclaimed wood flooring in her kitchen and family room
were warped. She called a plumber, who inspected and told her
that both fridges had been improperly installed - the
icemaker line was not correctly attached to the water line.
Ms. Jackson then phoned Lowe's manager, who sent Custard
Insurance Adjusters to the house; Custard confirmed that the
damage resulted from faulty installation, and hired DKI, an
emergency repair service, to extract the water from the wood
floors. According to Ms. Jackson's petition, the
extractors were placed in the kitchen and family room, making
it impossible for her to use either room. In addition, the
machines made such an "unbearable" noise that she
had to vacate the house, incurring hotel and meal expenses.
nine days of extraction, Custard decided the floors could not
be repaired. According to Ms. Jackson's petition,
Lowe's did not answer her informal demands to pay the
cost of removal and replacement.
Jackson filed this suit, in proper person, against Lowe's
Home Centers, in June 2015. She also named "Insurance
Company A" as a defendant, but never joined any insurer.
In addition to demanding costs of replacement, moving and
storage, and cleaning, she alleged that because she could not
stay in the house, she incurred costs for hotels and meals.
She also demanded damages for mental anguish and attorney
filed an exception of no cause of action as to the demand for
penalties and attorney fees: because Lowe's was not an
insurer, it could not be liable for bad-faith adjustment of
claims, La. R.S. 22:1892 and 1973.
then filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to the
demand for lost wages and mental anguish. In support, it
filed portions of Ms. Jackson's deposition in which she
testified that during the four months it took to replace the
floor, she could not stay in the house, so she took a 28-day
trip to Chicago, followed by short trips to Turks &
Caicos, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Antonio,
and, finally, to Beverly Hills (for a "getaway
weekend"); she felt that these trips caused her to lose
between $95, 000 and $120, 000 in wages and profits.
Lowe's argued that no reported case had ever approved
lost wages as an element of damages for a property damage
claim without bodily injury, and thus the award was not
legally recognized. However, even if it were, Ms. Jackson
could not meet the high standard of proving lost wages:
"a plaintiff must prove that he would have been earning
wages but for the accident in question, " ...