FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. 20155290 HONORABLE MARILYN CARR CASTLE,
A. Mahtook, Jr. Kay Theunissen Julie I. Faulk Mahtook &
LaFleur, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Lafayette
City-Parish Consolidated Government
Jefcoat Holly Lamarche Galloway Jefcoat, L.L.P. P., COUNSEL
FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Lisa Smith-Asekomeh
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Billy Howard Ezell, and D.
Kent Savoie, Judges.
HOWARD EZELL JUDGE.
Smith-Asekomeh appeals a trial court judgment granting
summary judgment in favor of the Lafayette City-Parish
Consolidated Government (LCG). She claims that summary
judgment should be reversed because there are questions of
material fact concerning the fault of Jackie Green, a bus
driver for the Lafayette Transit System. For the following
reasons, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.
April 18, 2015, Ms. Smith-Asekomeh was a passenger on an LCG
bus. Jackie Green was driving the bus on Lafayette Transit
System Route #50. She had recently been hired by LCG as a
driver so her supervisor, Jason Ledet, was on board the bus
to train her. Mr. Ledet explained that they were in the
process of route training Ms. Green. She initially trained
without passengers, but on April 18 there were passengers on
Ledet explained that Route #50 starts at the bus terminal.
One of the stops is in the Walmart parking lot located on
Buchanan Street. Ms. Smith-Asekomeh traveled on the bus to go
to Walmart the afternoon of the incident at issue. She did
some shopping at Walmart. After Ms. Smith-Asekomeh finished
shopping, she got back on the same bus with several grocery
bags. Ms. Smith-Asekomeh took the first forward facing seat
behind the driver. There were two seats in front of her
facing the aisle that could be flipped up to allow for
handicap seating. Mr. Ledet was standing on the yellow line
in the aisle in the front near the driver holding the post.
the bus left Walmart, it made a right on Pierce Street. From
Pierce Street, the bus would take a left onto Willow Street,
which is where the incident took place. Ms. Smith-Asekomeh
could not see what was happening because Mr. Ledet was
standing in aisle, and the bus driver was seated in front of
her. Mr. Ledet testified that they were at the red light in
the left lane to turn left onto Willow. The turn lane does
not have a green arrow light. When the light turned green,
the bus proceeded to take a left. Ms. Green had to put on her
brakes to avoid a collision with a car coming from the
opposite direction. Ms. Smith-Asekomeh testified she flew
forward, her arm hit the armrest on the chair in front of
her, and then she slammed back into her seat.
Smith-Asekomeh never reported to Ms. Green or Mr. Ledet that
she was hurt. The bus continued its route. After she got off
the bus, Ms. Smith-Asekomeh dropped her bags off at her house
and then walked to her mother's house. Her mother called
an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, Ms. Smith-Asekomeh
walked to it and got into the ambulance. Her mother rode with
her to the emergency room. Ms. Smith-Asekomeh testified that
she was in great pain the next day.
Smith-Asekomeh filed suit against the LCG on October 26,
2015. On February 27, 2018, the LCG filed a motion for
summary judgment. A hearing on the motion was held on October
29, 2018. The trial court granted the motion for summary
judgment and dismissed Ms. Smith-Asekomeh's petition on
November 8, 2018. Ms. Smith-Asekomeh then filed the present
Smith-Asekomeh claims the trial court erred in granting the
LCG's motion for summary judgment. She argues that there
are genuine issues of material fact regarding ...