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Bonck v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 27, 2018

NORMAN BONCK
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY AND LINDA M. CROCKEM

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 754-678, DIVISION "O" HONORABLE DANYELLE M. TAYLOR, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, NORMAN BONCK William R. Mustian, III

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY AND LINDA M. CROCKEM Sandra K. Cosby

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY James A. Stapp

          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Stephen J. Windhorst, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          STEPHEN J. WINDHORST JUDGE.

         SJW

         SMC

         JJM

         Appellant/plaintiff, Norman Bonck, appeals the trial court's May 7, 2018 judgment in favor of appellees/defendants, Linda Crockem, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, and Allstate Insurance Company, dismissing appellant's claims with prejudice. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On October 23, 2014, after exiting the Wal-Mart located on Loyola Drive, appellant was allegedly waiting in the median to turn left (southbound) when he was struck by Ms. Crockem's vehicle, which was traveling in the left southbound lane on Loyola Drive. As a result, appellant allegedly sustained injuries. On October 20, 2015, appellant filed a petition for damages against Ms. Crockem and her insurer, State Farm.[1] In a supplemental petition for damages, appellant added his underinsured motorist insurer, Allstate, as an additional defendant.[2] On April 5, 2018, the matter proceeded to a judge trial.

         At trial, appellant testified that on October 23, 2014, at approximately "6:30, 6:45-ish" P.M, [3] he was leaving the Wal-Mart on Loyola Drive and heading home. Upon exiting the parking lot, he crossed the three northbound lanes and stopped in the median where he was waiting to turn left onto the southbound lane of Loyola Drive. There were three southbound lanes at this intersection, the far left lane being the left turn lane. He testified that he "[c]hecked the main lanes of travel going southbound, and as I was crossing I heard (sound) noise that startled me. I looked back to the right as I heard that noise and boom, the accident happened. I was looking straight into Miss Crockem's eyes." Appellant testified that at the point of impact, he was stopped in the median and his vehicle was "[p]erfectly straight, perpendicular" with the intersection, but conceded he was not looking in the direction that the traffic was coming, including the turning lane. He testified that his foot was on the brake when Ms. Crockem's vehicle struck his vehicle. In support of his testimony, appellant submitted into evidence video surveillance of the accident.

         Ms. Crockem testified that the night of the accident she was traveling on Loyola Drive going to Subway, which is about a block further up the road from Wal-Mart. It was dark outside and she was in the left lane closest to the median, but she was not in the left turn lane. Ms. Crockem testified that she did not see the accident occur, she only remembers that appellant ran up to her vehicle afterwards and said "Miss, Miss, are you all right? I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't see you." At that point, she looked back and saw appellant's vehicle. She testified that her vehicle was damaged from the driver's ...


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