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Carr v. GEICO Casualty Co.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

October 16, 2019

CHRIS CARR, JR.
v.
GEICO CASUALTY COMPANY AND SHANA FAIRCHILD

          APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2019-00419, DIVISION "F" Honorable Christopher J. Bruno, Judge

          DaShawn P. Hayes THE HAYES LAW FIRM, PLC COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT

          Alejandro “Alex” Cobar LAW OFFICE OF ROBERTO R. AROSTEGUI COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE

          Court composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Tiffany G. Chase

          TIFFANY G. CHASE, JUDGE

         This is an appeal from a judgment of dismissal granted in favor of defendants, GEICO Casualty Company and Shana Fairchild (collectively "GEICO"), against plaintiff, Chris Carr, Jr. (hereinafter "Mr. Carr"). After consideration of the record, and the applicable law, we amend the judgment of the trial court and affirm as amended.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 13, 2017, Mr. Carr filed a petition for damages for injuries allegedly sustained in a November 26, 2016, automobile accident. GEICO served Mr. Carr with interrogatories and a request for production of documents by mail on March 30, 2017. Mr. Carr did not respond. Pursuant to Rule 10.1 of the Rules for Louisiana District Courts, a telephone conference was scheduled for October 2, 2017, to discuss the outstanding discovery. Counsel for Mr. Carr did not participate in the telephone conference. GEICO subsequently filed a motion to compel and a hearing on the matter was set for November 30, 2017.

         On the morning of the hearing, counsel for Mr. Carr sent an e-mail to the trial court and counsel for GEICO, stating that he was ill with the flu and would be unable to attend the hearing. The parties reached an agreement that an additional thirty days would be given to reply to the requested discovery.

         On February 5, 2018, counsel for GEICO e-mailed counsel for Mr. Carr indicating he would be filing a second motion to compel regarding the continued absence of discovery responses. The following day, plaintiff's counsel replied that discovery responses would be provided no later than February 9, 2018. Despite this assurance, no responses were provided and GEICO filed its second motion to compel.

         The hearing on the second motion to compel took place on March 1, 2018. No opposition was filed and neither Mr. Carr nor his counsel made an appearance. At the hearing, counsel for GEICO recounted the history of prior events:

Defense Counsel:
[Counsel for Mr. Carr] said [he would] get me stuff in 30 days. I told him 30 days was fine. Sixty days later we tried to contact him again. He says give me until the end of the week; still [did] not get it.
Wait a few more weeks; file a motion to compel; talked to him yesterday he is now telling me that the problem has been that he has lost touch with his client, but it is the ...

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