Appeal From The Nineteenth Judicial District Court Number
622983, Division D, PArish Of East Baton Rouge State Of
Louisiana Honorable William C. Dupont, udge Pro Tempore
Neale deGravelles Benjamin Boone Treuting Baton Rouge,
Louisiana Counsel for Plaintiff -Appellant Ronnie James
Lambert J. Hassinger, Jr. Jeffrey Siemann New Orleans,
Louisiana Counsel for Defendant -Appellee Western World
McMillan Baker, Louisiana Defendant -Appellee Proper Person
Before: Welch, Chutz, And Lanier, JJ. 
Ronnie James Prejean, appeals the trial court's grant of
summary judgment and the dismissal of his claims against
defendant-appellee, Western World Insurance Company (Western
World), which provided a commercial lines policy to
defendant-appellee, Garden of Eden LLC (GOE), based on a
finding that the policy did not provide coverage. For the
reasons that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
instituted this lawsuit averring that on October 11, 2012, he
had been working as an independent contractor tree surgeon
for, or alternatively, an under-the-table cash employee of,
Corey's Garden of Eden Services, LLC, GOE, Garden of Eden
Services, LLC, and/or its owner Corey McMillan on a job that
involved trimming a tree on residential property in Clinton,
Louisiana. During operations to remove the tree, Prejean
sustained injuries. GOE, McMillan, and Western World were
among those named as defendants.
World answered the lawsuit and then filed a motion for
summary judgment. After a hearing, in a judgment signed on
November 6, 2017, the trial court granted summary judgment,
concluding that Western World's policy excluded coverage
for Prejean's claims, and dismissed the insurer from the
lawsuit. Following the denial of his motion for new
trial, Prejean devolutively appealed.
motion for summary judgment shall be granted only if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions, together with the affidavits, if any, admitted
for purposes of the motion for summary judgment, show that
there is no genuine issue as to material fact, and that the
mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. La. C.C.P.
art. 966B(2). In determining whether summary judgment is
appropriate, appellate courts review evidence de novo under
the same criteria that govern the trial court's
determination of whether summary judgment is appropriate.
Guste v. Lirette, 2017-1248 (La.App. 1st Cir.
6/4/18), 251 So.3d 1126, 1129.
of an insurance policy usually involves a legal question that
can be resolved properly in the framework of a motion for
summary judgment. An insurance policy is a contract between
the parties and should be construed using the general rules
of interpretation of contracts set forth in the Civil Code.
Interpretation of a contract is the determination of the
common intent of the parties. La. C.C. art. 2045. When the
words of a contract are clear and explicit and lead to no
absurd consequences, no further interpretation may be made in
search of the parties' intent. La. C.C. art. 2046.
Green v. Johnson, 2016-1525 (La.App. 1st Cir.
1/10/18), 241 So.3d 1188, 1191-92.
purpose of liability insurance is to afford the insured
protection from damage claims; therefore, policies should be
construed to effect, not to deny, coverage. Thus, a provision
which seeks to narrow the insurer's obligation is
strictly construed against the insurer, and, if the language
of the exclusion is subject to two or more reasonable
interpretations, the interpretation which favors coverage
must be applied. Hinchcliffe v. Siaotong, 2017-1356
(La.App. 1st Cir. 4/18/18), - So.3d -, writ denied,
2018-1113 (La. 10/15/18), 253 So.3d 1304.
an insurance policy should not be interpreted in an
unreasonable or a strained manner so as to enlarge or to
restrict its provisions beyond what is reasonably
contemplated by its terms or so as to achieve an absurd
conclusion. Unless a policy conflicts with statutory
provisions or public policy, it may limit an insurer's
liability and impose and enforce reasonable conditions upon
the policy obligations the insurer contractually assumes.
Green, 241 So.3d at 1192.
motion for summary judgment, Western World asserted that
whether Prejean is considered an employee, an independent
contractor, or a temporary worker, coverage is excluded for
his claims under the plain language of the
policy. According to the salient provisions of the
Western World policy:
SECTION I- COVERAGES
COVERAGE A BODILY INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE
1. Insuring Agreement
a. We will pay those sums that the insured becomes legally
obligated to pay as damages because of "bodily
injury" or "property damage" to which this