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Mire v. Guidry

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

June 27, 2018

GERALD J. MIRE
v.
BRANDON A. GUIDRY, ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. C-20162535 HONORABLE THOMAS R. DUPLANTIER, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Guy D. Perrier Jean E. Lavidalie, Jr. Perrier & Lacoste, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS: State National Insurance Company Brandon A. Guidry Butcher Air Conditioning Company

          Byron A. Richie Paul D. Oberle, Jr. Patrick W. Woolbert Richie, Richie & Oberle, L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: National Automotive Insurance Company Tricia R. Sam

          Jason M. Welborn Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Gerald J. Mire

          Court composed of John D. Saunders, Marc T. Amy, and D. Kent Savoie, Judges. Amy, J., concurs in the result.

          D. KENT SAVOIE JUDGE.

         Defendants, Brandon A. Guidry, Butcher Air Conditioning Company, and State National Insurance Company, appeal the judgment of the trial court, granting the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Co-Defendants, Tricia R. Sam and National Automotive Insurance Company, and dismissing Plaintiff, Gerald Mire's, claims against Sam and National Automotive. For the following reasons, we reverse.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This cause of action arises out of an automobile accident which occurred on June 22, 2015, in Lafayette, Louisiana. The accident involved a three car rear-end collision, with Mire being the driver of the first vehicle, Sam driving the second vehicle following Mire, and Guidry as the rear driver following the Sam vehicle. Mire initiated suit through a Petition for Damages naming as Defendants: (1) Brandon Guidry; (2) his employer, Butcher Air Conditioning, Inc., the owner of the vehicle Guidry was driving at the time of the accident; (3) State National Insurance Company, Inc., the insurer of Butcher Air and Guidry; (4) Tricia Sam; (5) EAN Holdings, LLC[1], the owner of the Sam vehicle; and (6) National Automotive Insurance Company, the insurer of Sam. The petition alleges that Guidry collided with the rear of Sam's vehicle, causing her vehicle to then collide with the rear of the Mire vehicle. In the alternative, the petition alleges that Sam first collided with the rear of the Mire vehicle, and the Sam vehicle was subsequently struck by the Guidry vehicle because he was following too closely.

         In their Answer and Jury Demand, Tricia Sam and National Automotive (the Sam Defendants) claim Brandon Guidry was wholly at fault for the accident. Butcher Air and State National answered the petition specifically alleging the third-party fault of Tricia Sam. In the alternative, they allege the comparative fault of Sam. In a separate answer, Brandon Guidry makes the same allegations.

         The issue before us stems from the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Sam Defendants. In the motion, they requested that the trial court dismiss Gerald Mire's claims against them based on Mire's testimony that he only felt one impact. The Sam Defendants argued that this evidence proved Sam's vehicle was pushed into Mire's vehicle "as a result of being rear ended herself by the vehicle being operated by the defendant, Brandon A. Guidry." In opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment, Guidry, Butcher Air, and State National (the Guidry Defendants) contended that a genuine issue of material fact existed because Mire told his treating physicians that he felt two different and distinct impacts when discussing the accident with them.

         After a hearing on the matter, the trial court found in favor of the Sam Defendants, granting their motion for summary judgment and dismissing Mire's claims against them. The Guidry Defendants first filed a supervisory writ application alleging that there was a genuine issue of material fact in dispute and that the credibility of the plaintiff was improperly considered at the hearing. A panel of this court denied the writ, finding that the ruling at issue is a partial final judgment which is subject to an appeal. The Guidry Defendants now appeal on the same grounds found in their writ application.

         LAW AND DISCUSSION

         I. The Guidry ...


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