Appealed from the Sixth Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Tensas, Louisiana Trial Court No. 23, 843 Division
"A" Honorable Michael E. Lancaster, Judge
ANTHONY J. BRUSCATO Counsel for Appellant
WEEMS, BRUSER, SUES & RUNDELL By: Eugene J. Sues Brandon
A. Sues Counsel for Appellee Lake Bruin Recreation and Water
E. RYLAND LEISA B. LAWSON ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERALS Counsel
for Appellee La. Dept. of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
MOORE, PITMAN, and McCALLUM, JJ.
Crump appeals a judgment that sustained two motions for
summary judgment and dismissed his personal injury claims.
For the reasons expressed, we affirm.
2015, Crump went to Lake Bruin State Park, in Tensas Parish,
to go fishing. He entered the park, walked out on one of the
piers, set down his tackle box, and turned around to get
something out of his car. However, on his first step toward
the car, his right foot went through a rotten plank. He fell
backwards, his right leg going all the way through the hole,
and the rest of him trapped on the surface of the pier until
EMTs arrived. The incident cut and scraped his right leg,
sprained his left wrist, and generally hurt his shoulder,
neck and back.
filed this suit against the Lake Bruin Recreation & Water
Conservation District ("the Conservation District")
on May 9, 2016, alleging that it was a political subdivision
of the State of Louisiana and was either negligent or
strictly liable for his injuries.
Conservation District filed an exception of no cause of
action as to any claim for strict liability; the district
court sustained this, based on La. R.S. 9:2800 C, and Crump
did not seek review of that ruling. The court set trial for
September 18, 2017. The State of Louisiana, though not named
a defendant, filed an answer denying any liability.
filed a supplemental and amending petition joining as
defendant the State Department of Culture, Recreation &
Tourism ("the State") on November 21, 2016. This
alleged that the State maintained the park premises and
failed to inspect or repair the pier. The State answered
asserting the Recreational Use Immunity statute, La. R.S.
April 2017, the Conservation District filed the instant
motion for summary judgment asserting that it did not own,
maintain, control, or have care or responsibility for the
park; rather, the State did. In support, it attached the
affidavit of its president, David McEacharn, who attested to
these facts and that the Conservation District did not even
have any employees at the park. The court set the MSJ for
hearing on August 2.
2017, the State filed a motion to substitute counsel. Within
a few weeks, new counsel noticed a records deposition to
Crump regarding his income for the three preceding years. On
June 16, the State asked for a continuance of the trial, set
for September 18, since counsel had just enrolled.
same date, June 16, the State filed this motion for summary
judgment asserting R.S. 9:2795. In support, it attached the
deposition of the program director of the Office of State
Parks, Gary Ramsey, who asserted that Lake Bruin was a state
park, not commercial, and was designed for recreational
purposes; and that there had been no other accidents reported
on its piers. The court set this MSJ for hearing also on
later, on July 17, the State filed an "unopposed"
motion for continuance urging that discovery was not yet
complete. The court reset ...