FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2015-01072,
DIVISION “M” Honorable Paulette R. Irons, Judge
M. Hair David P. Vicknair Jennifer J. Greene Kassie L.
Richbourg Sarah Kalis SCOTT VICKNAIR HAIR & CHECKI, LLC
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT
M. Malone Jade M. Wandell DUPLASS, ZWAIN, BOURGEOIS, PFISTER,
WEINSTOCK & BOGART, APLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
A. LOMBARD JUDGE
the Court in these consolidated cases are the cross-appeals
of Plaintiff Athena Antippas and the Defendants, Damon Young
and Parking Management Services, who seek review of an August
2, 2017 district court judgment, conforming to a jury verdict
rendered on June 28, 2017. After review of the record in
light of the applicable law and arguments of the parties, we
affirm the judgment of the district court, finding no abuse
and Procedural History
a bicycle-automobile collision case. Ms. Antippas avers that
on the afternoon of August 10, 2014, she was cycling on
Burgundy Street, in the French Quarter, with three to four
feet of space between both her and the parked cars on the
right side of the road as well as the passing vehicular
traffic to her left. Cycling with the flow of traffic, Ms.
Antippas was struck by a car door that valet Damon
Young had partially opened in front of the Hotel
St. Pierre. Ms. Antippas testified that she was thrown
to the ground upon impact and was helped up by Mr. Young, who
apologized to her. Ms. Antippas sustained several injuries,
including to her cervical and lumber spine, sacroiliac joints
and her right hand, which is her dominant hand. Ms. Antippas
testified to these facts at trial, which were stipulated to
by the parties.
2015, Ms. Antippas filed suit against a number of defendants,
including Mr. Young and Parking Management Services. At the
time of trial, in June 2017, only Mr. Young and Parking
Management Services (collectively referred to as "the
Defendants") remained as the Defendants.
three-day jury trial was held in June 2017, during which four
witnesses testified: Ms. Antippas; her orthopedic surgeon,
Dr. Marco Rodriguez; Louis Miller, the Parking Management
Services manager; and Douglas Robert, a liability
expert. The jury ultimately rendered a verdict
finding Ms. Antippas 30% at fault and the Defendants 70% at
fault for the accident. The jury awarded Ms. Antippas:
Past Medical Expenses - $15, 000
Future Medical Expenses - $100, 000
Past Physical Pain and Suffering - $10, 000
Future Physical Pain and Suffering - $10, 000
Past and Future Mental Anguish -$5, 000
Past and Future Emotional Distress- $5, 000
and Future Loss of Enjoyment of Life - $5, 000 Thus, her
award of $150, 000 was reduced by $45, 000, due to her
percentage of fault, totaling $105, 000. The trial court
signed a judgment, conforming to the jury verdict, on August
2, 2017. Ms. Antippas later timely appealed this judgment.
the Defendants filed a Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding
the Verdict, which the district court denied. Both parties
then appealed the district court's August 2017
appeal, Ms. Antippas asserts that the jury erred in
apportioning her any fault. Moreover, both parties, in their
respective appeals, challenge the propriety of the jury's
award of past and future medical expenses. Lastly, Ms.
Antippas challenges the amount of general damages awarded to
her. Below we address the jury's:
• Allocation of fault;
• award of past and future medical expenses; and
• award of general damages.
jury allocated Ms. Antippas 30% of the fault for the accident
at issue. Ms. Antippas maintains that the jury erred for two
reasons. First, she asserts she did not deviate from the
statutory degree of care required for bicyclists under La.
Rev. Stat. 32:197. Second, she maintains that the undisputed
facts fail to show any fault on her part to be apportioned,
especially considering that the Defendants stipulated to her
version of the facts at trial and failed to present testimony
or evidence demonstrating that she was partially at fault.
While the parties did so stipulate, we find that a reasonable
factual basis exists to support the jury's determination
that Ms. Antippas was partially at fault for her injuries.
of fault are factual determinations, which are not to be
disturbed by appellate courts in absence of manifest error or
unless a particular finding of fact was "clearly
wrong." Aetna Life and Casualty Company v.
Solloway, 25, 462 (La.App.2d Cir. 1/19/94), 630 So.2d
1353, 1356; Rosell v. ESCO, 549 So.2d 840, 844
(La.1989). Allocation of fault is not an exact science, or
the search for one precise ratio, but rather an acceptable
range. Allocations of fault within such a range cannot be
clearly wrong. Foley v. Entergy Louisiana, Inc.,
06-0983, p. 32 (La. 11/29/06), 946 So.2d 144, 166 [citations
jury, in the instant matter, was presented with testimony
from Ms. Antippas that she was traveling equidistant from the
passing vehicular traffic to her left and the parked cars to
her right, when Mr. Young partially opened a car door into
her from her right side. The streets in the French Quarter,
according to Mr. Douglas' testimony, are narrower than
average streets, measuring 22 feet wide. He further testified
that a car door's length, at most, is three feet. Ms.
Antippas testified that she was cycling three to four feet
away from the parked cars.
also established at trial that bicyclists, such as Ms.
Antippas, have a statutory duty to travel nearer to the right
side of the street. "Every person operating a bicycle
upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the
roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a
standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same
direction." La. Rev. Stat. 32:197(A); Guillot v.
Valley Forge Ins. Co., 99-1044, p. 4 (La.App. 3 Cir.
12/8/99), 753 So.2d 891, 894. Bicyclists are also subject to
the same duties applicable to drivers of motor vehicles,
including the duty to keep a proper lookout at all times. La.
Rev. Stat. 32:194; Clement v. State Department of
Transportation and Development, 528 So.2d 176, 180
(La.App. 1st Cir. 1988).
Antippas relies upon the Supreme Court's holding that
"the trier of fact should accept as true the
uncontradicted testimony of a witness, even though the
witness is a party, where the record indicates no sound
reason for its rejection." Robertson v. Scanio
Produce & Inst. Foods, Inc., 449 So.2d 459
(La.1984). However, the jurors may have found sound reason
for rejection of Ms. Antippas' assertion that she was not
at fault based upon her own testimony. Additionally, the
jurors had the freedom to "believe in whole or ...