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Charles v. Price

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 22, 2019

DARRELL CHARLES AND ALTON ADAMS Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
ROBERT PRICE AND USAA CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY Defendants-Appellees

          Appealed from the Third Judicial District Court for the Parish of Lincoln, Louisiana Trial Court No. 58897 Honorable Thomas Wynn Rogers, Judge

          THE LAW FIRM OF EDDIE M. Counsel for Appellants CLARK & ASSOCIATES, LLC By: Eddie M. Clark

          LUNN, IRION, SALLEY, CARLISLE & GARDNER Counsel for Appellees By: Alexander J. Mijalis

          Before MOORE, COX, and BLEICH (Ad Hoc), JJ.

          COX, J.

         This appeal is from the Third Judicial District Court, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana. The plaintiffs, Darrell Charles and Alton Adams (hereinafter referred to as "Charles" and "Adams," respectively), brought suit against Robert Price (hereinafter referred to as "Price") and his insurance carrier, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, after a car accident in an intersection controlled by traffic signals. The trial court found in favor of Price. The plaintiffs now appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         FACTS

         This suit arises from an automobile collision in Ruston, Louisiana, on October 15, 2016, at 9:22 p.m. The plaintiffs were passengers in Freddie Maxwell's Honda Accord. Price was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer owned by his father, Jeffrey Price, and insured by USAA Casualty Insurance Company. The two vehicles collided at the intersection of West California Avenue and South Trenton Street, which is controlled by a red light. Price was traveling southbound on S. Trenton St. Maxwell was traveling westbound on W. California Ave. The issue at trial was which driver ran the red light.

         The plaintiffs filed a petition for damages on April 18, 2017, claiming Price ran the red light and caused the accident and specifically pleading the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor. Charles claimed he sustained serious injuries including injuries to his back, neck, chest, abdomen, ribs, both hands, head, and emotions. He claims his head injuries have been accompanied by headaches and dizziness. Charles also claimed damages of past and future loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, past and future pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish and emotional distress, past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of earnings, past and future loss of earning capacity, lost wages, past and future disability, past and future physical impairment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, medical related expenses and bills, and all non-economic damages.

         Adams claims he sustained injuries to his lower back, neck, right shoulder, right hand, ribs, head, and emotions. He claims his head injuries have been accompanied by headaches. Adams also claims damages of past and future loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, past and future pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish and emotional distress, past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of earnings, past and future loss of earning capacity, lost wages, past and future disability, past and future physical impairment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, medical related expenses and bills, and all non-economic damages.

         The bench trial began on September 25, 2018. Price testified as to the following:

• He did not stop at a red light at the intersection of S. Trenton and W. California.
• He did not see the Maxwell vehicle until the crash occurred.
• After the initial impact, his vehicle rotated about 200 degrees, striking a pole, and the Maxwell vehicle kept ...

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