APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 728-732, DIVISION
"L" HONORABLE DONALD A. ROWAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, DALE AND DIANNE HUNTER
Jacqueline F. Maloney Erin A. Fisher
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, MICHAEL D. TERREBONE &
ANPAC LOUISIANA INSURANCE COMPANY James R. Nieset, Jr.
Kristopher Michael Gould Jade E. Ennis
composed of Judges Robert A. Chaisson, Stephen J. Windhorst,
and Hans J. Liljeberg
STEPHEN J. WINDHORST JUDGE
Dale Anthony Hunter ("Mr. Hunter" or
"plaintiff"), seeks review of the jury verdict, in
his favor and against appellees, Michael Terrebonne
("Mr. Terrebonne") and ANPAC Louisiana Insurance
Company ("ANPAC"), awarding him $35, 000.00 in
general damages and $280.00 for past medical expenses. For
the following reasons, we affirm the jury verdict.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
14, 2012, Mr. Hunter and Mr. Terrebonne played golf together
with a foursome at the Avondale TPC Golf Course in Jefferson
Parish, Louisiana. After making a bad shot, Mr. Terrebonne
got upset and threw his golf club. The golf club flew through
the air, sailed off to the left, and hit Mr. Hunter above his
right knee on the front right portion of his thigh. Although
Mr. Hunter initially fell to the ground in pain after the
incident, he was able to finish playing the remaining
fourteen holes of golf.
Hunter filed suit against Mr. Terrebonne and his liability
insurer, ANPAC, alleging that he sustained serious injuries
to his "right leg, right thigh, right knee, right calf,
right lower extremity and other serious injuries to his mind
and body." Mr. Hunter sought damages for pain and
suffering, medical expenses, loss of income, and loss of
earning capacity. The case proceeded to trial.
trial, Mr. Hunter and his wife testified that the day after
the incident, he was in severe pain, his entire leg was
severely bruised, and that he could barely walk. Plaintiff,
however, did not seek medical treatment until a few days
after the trauma at an urgent care facility. The doctor at
this facility told him he had suffered a trauma and suggested
he have it examined by his regular doctor. About two weeks
after the incident, on August 1, 2012, Mr. Hunter saw his
regular doctor, Dr. Daniel Gallagher, an orthopedic surgeon.
to this incident, Dr. Gallagher had treated plaintiff since
at least 2006 for left knee pain caused by chronic tendonitis
and since 2009 for right knee pain caused by arthritis.
Medical records indicate that in 2009, Mr. Hunter's right
knee had signs of a degenerative meniscus, which means it was
not in normal condition. Dr. Gallagher's deposition was
introduced into evidence at trial.
Gallagher testified that, on August 1, 2012,
he found, based on his examination Mr. Hunter's right
knee, that it was "basically the same" as during
previous visits and that, although there was tenderness,
there was no indication of a meniscus tear in the right knee
at this visit. Medical records from this visit indicate Mr.
Hunter had right knee pain, right thigh pain and swelling and
ecchymosis in the right thigh. Dr. Gallagher testified that
he thought Mr. Hunter's injury was "simply a
contusion from being struck" and that this "was the
cause of his thigh and knee pain."
after Mr. Hunter saw Dr. Gallagher, Hurricane Isaac struck
the New Orleans area, and the evidence showed that Mr. Hunter
had to prepare his home for the hurricane. According to
medical records, after the hurricane, Mr. Hunter had an MRI
and saw Dr. Gallagher again on September 10, 2012. At this
visit, Mr. Hunter told Dr. Gallagher "he had increased
pain and swelling in the right knee with hurricane
activity." Plaintiff's first post-Isaac examination
did reveal new findings, including more tenderness and a
positive McMurray test, which is used to test for damage or
tears to the meniscus. The MRI showed a ligament strain and a
medial meniscus tear which had not been there before.
whether the golf trauma aggravated or was related to the
arthritis and the tear, Dr. Gallagher testified as follows:
"It's hard to say. When you have a direct blow to
the body, the body reacts to that. And what I would picture
would be some sort of a twisting motion to the knee in
reaction to being struck or trying to avoid being struck.
That twisting motion could have been what caused the
degenerative meniscus to finally tear and flare up and
aggravate the preexisting arthritis as well." Dr.
Gallagher also testified that the hurricane preparation
activity could ...