Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 590, 948 Honorable
Michael A. Pitman, Judge
& GIGLIO, L.L.C. By: Sarah R. Giglio Counsel for
PETTIETTE, ARMAND, DUNKELMAN, WOODLEY, BYRD & CROMWELL,
L.L.P. By: Donald J. Armand, Jr. Joshua P. Monteleone Counsel
MOORE, STONE, and COX, JJ.
Sepulvado and Christy Sepulvado ("Mr. and Mrs.
Sepulvado," respectively) brought a personal injury suit
against The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company and Yokem
Motors, Incorporated (collectively referred to as
"Yokem") in the First Judicial District Court,
Caddo Parish, Louisiana. The district court granted
Yokem's motion for summary judgment. The Sepulvados now
appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm the district
Sepulvado was injured while exiting his vehicle at Yokem, a
car dealership in Shreveport, Louisiana. On February 24,
2015, Mr. Sepulvado drove his 2007 GMC truck from DeSoto
Parish to Shreveport. Mr. Sepulvado was going to meet with a
Geico employee to get a repair estimate for the tailgate of
his truck. At the time, Geico was renting a building on the
Yokem premises. Mr. Sepulvado was accompanied by Mrs.
Sepulvado and their son, Aaron. Aaron's school was closed
that day due to icy weather conditions.
driving on the lot, Mr. Sepulvado was directed where to park
by a Yokem employee. Mr. Sepulvado claims a Yokem employee by
the name of Paul motioned for him to get out of his truck to
meet him. Mr. Sepulvado claims that upon exiting his truck,
he took three steps, his feet slid out from underneath him,
and he fell on a thin layer of ice, injuring his back and
head. Mrs. Sepulvado took Mr. Sepulvado to the emergency room
at Christus Schumpert Highland Hospital. While waiting in the
emergency room, Mr. Sepulvado claims he talked to two Yokem
employees who slipped on the same patch of ice earlier in the
deposition, Mr. Sepulvado stated the weather was bad and icy
on the day of the accident. He recalled seeing spots of ice
on the side of the road while he was on his way to Geico that
morning. When asked if there was any ice on the road, Mr.
Sepulvado answered, "Probably. I can't really
remember. Probably." He said he was the only car in the
parking lot where he fell. He stated he did not see ice on
the pavement until after he fell, when the people running to
help him were sliding around. Mr. Sepulvado said that he did
not see any ice on the ground where he fell. He assumed that
ice caused him to fall because of the way his feet slid from
underneath him. He further stated that his wife did not fall
while checking on him and his truck did not slide while he
was driving it on the lot.
Sepulvado confirmed Mr. Sepulvado's recollection of the
truck not sliding around on the lot. She also stated that she
did not see any ice while assisting her husband after the
fall. At the time she was running around the truck to check
on Mr. Sepulvado, she did not know he fell because of ice.
Bentzler was a Yokem employee who was working the morning of
the accident. Mr. Bentzler stated he arrived to work at 6:30
a.m. and the back lot, where the employees park, was pretty
much solid ice and "pretty slick." He said he saw
Mr. Sepulvado pull up and park his truck, but he did not see
Mr. Sepulvado fall. He only saw Mr. Sepulvado lying beside
his truck. Mr. Bentzler stated that he helped Mr. Sepulvado
get back on this feet because "it was slick." He
also stated that Mr. Sepulvado drove straight to the Geico
building after the fall and was there for about 30 minutes
before leaving. Mr. Bentzler heard later that day that
another employee had fallen in the back lot, but he did not
see the fall.
February 23, 2016, Mr. Sepulvado petitioned for both general
and special damages, including past and future medical
expenses; past, present, and future pain and suffering; and,
past, present, and future mental anguish and distress. Ms.
Sepulvado petitioned for damages for loss of consortium,
services, and society.
and its insurer, The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company,
filed a motion for summary judgment because the Sepulvados
could not meet their burden of proof as to the existence of
an "unreasonable risk of harm." The district court