United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is the Joint Trial Brief Submitted for a Decision
and Judgment on the Merits on March 15, 2019, wherein the
remaining parties agreed to submit this matter for a decision
and final judgment on the merits. (R. Doc. 134).
action arises out of a collision between a school bus and a
2002 Chevrolet Silverado being operated by William Carpenter
on or about February 13, 2017. (R. Doc. 134 at 1). National
Liability & Fire Insurance Company (“National
Liability”) filed a Complaint-in-Interpleader on June
15, 2017. (R. Doc. 1). National Liability represents that its
policy provides applicable underinsured motorists coverage
with a combined single limit in the amount of $100, 000. (R.
Doc. 1 at 5).
FINDINGS OF FACT
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a), the Court makes the following
parties agree that the Court will make appropriate findings
of fact and conclusions of law based solely on the Joint
Trial Brief and the spreadsheet and medical records submitted
to the Court and will enter a Judgement accordingly. The
parties further waive any objections to resolution in this
manner pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the
Federal Rules of Evidence, or any other law or procedure
applicable in this matter. (R. Doc. 134).
February 13, 2017, on Louisiana Highway 43 near the
intersection of Muse Road in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, a
2002 Chevrolet Silverado, operated by William Carpenter,
collided with a 1996 blue school bus being driven by Roderick
Hughes. (R. Doc. 1 at 5).
2002 Chevrolet Silverado and its operator, William Carpenter,
are insured by a $15, 000/$30, 000 liability policy issued by
GEICO. The parties settled all claims under the applicable
occupants of the school bus are insured by a $100, 000 single
limit UM liability policy issued by National Liability &
Fire Insurance Company. (Joint Trial Brief, p. 1; R. Doc. 1
National Liability & Fire Insurance Company invoked this
interpleader action in order to resolve the distribution of
its policy limits.
January 8, 2018, Judgment was entered in favor of National
Liability & Fire Insurance Company, dismissing National
Liability with prejudice upon its deposit of $100, 000 into
the Registry of the Court, which it has since deposited, and
enjoining the adverse claimants from commencing any action
against National Liability for claims arising from payment of
its UM policy. (R. Doc. 94).
Various medical providers filed liens in this action, all of
which have been satisfied as of the time of this Order.
only remaining claimants are the twenty-nine minor children
who have asserted claims in this action arising out of
injuries sustained in the accident.
Funds in the amount of $89, 347.18 remain in the Registry of
the Court for distribution to the minor children who
filed claims in this action.
parties submitted a Joint Trial Brief to the Court, attached
to which is a spreadsheet that lists each Claimant/Child and
his or her respective funds received, and a brief summary of
treatment. The parties also submitted an electronic file
containing the pertinent medical bills and medical records of
each Claimant/Child. The Court accepts the foregoing records
and information as true and complete for purposes of this
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
pertinent facts of this case are not contested. The 2002
Chevrolet Silverado operated by William Carpenter was
attempting to pass a school bus that was attempting to
execute a left turn when a collision occurred, resulting in
injuries to more than forty children. (R. Doc. 134 at 1). The
parties represent that, after settlements for the fault of
William Carpenter and all medical bills having been paid or
satisfied, the only issue remaining for the Court's
consideration is that of disbursement of the remaining $89,
347.18 in funds deposited in the registry of the Court for
the general damages of the twenty-nine remaining claimants.
(R. Doc. 134 at 3).
damages are those which may not be fixed with pecuniary
exactitude; instead, they ‘involve mental or physical
pain or suffering, inconvenience, the loss of intellectual
gratification or physical enjoyment, or other losses of life
or life-style which cannot be definitely measured in monetary
terms.” Duncan v. Kansas City S. Ry. Co., 773
So.2d 670, 682 (La. 2000). “Pain and suffering, both
physical and mental, refers to the pain, discomfort,
inconvenience, anguish, and emotional trauma that accompanies
an injury.” McGee v. A C and S, Inc.,
2005-1036 (La. 7/10/06), 933 So.2d 770, 775. The trier of
fact is accorded much discretion in fixing general damage
awards. La. C.C. art. 2324.1.
general damages of the twenty-nine remaining claims fall into
essentially three categories. First, 13 children had varying
combinations of transportation by ambulance, an ER visit,
and/or up to two days of soft tissue treatment. Second, 15
children had anywhere from 1 ¾ months to 14 ½
months of soft tissue treatment. Finally, one child suffered
a fractured arm. General damages will be discussed and
assessed in accordance with the foregoing. The Court has
reviewed all of the information provided by the parties,
including but not limited to spreadsheets and ...