MARY L. SEPULVADO
FARM BUREAU INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL.
FROM THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF SABINE,
NO. 68, 057 HONORABLE STEPHEN B. BEASLEY, DISTRICT JUDGE
Taylor Townsend COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Mary L.
Gregory Dwayne Maricle Rebecca Goforth Bush Maricle &
Associates COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Terry Tedder Pam
Tedder Fisherman's Galley Restaurant
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Billy Howard Ezell, and John E.
HOWARD EZELL JUDGE.
issue presented by this appeal is whether a motion for
summary judgment dismissing restaurant owners in an
automobile accident case was properly granted. Mary Sepulvado
filed the present appeal alleging a hazardous condition was
created by the customers of Fisherman's Galley Restaurant
who parked on the state's right-of-way creating a sight
obstruction for visitors attempting to leave the restaurant
and turn onto LA Highway 6.
Galley Restaurant is located in Many, Louisiana on LA Highway
6. On April 3, 2016, Jackie Savell was exiting the
restaurant. At the same time, Ms. Sepulvado was heading west
on Highway 6. As Mr. Savell eased his way out onto the
highway to make a left turn, Ms. Sepulvado's car collided
with Mr. Savell's van.
Sepulvado alleges she suffered severe injuries as a result of
the accident. She filed suit against the restaurant; the
owners of the restaurant, Pamela and Terry Tedder; Mr.
Savell; Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, Mr.
Savell's insurer; Landstar Ranger, Inc., the owner of a
tractor trailer that allegedly parked on the highway and
blocked Mr. Savell's vision; and XYZ Insurance Company,
the insurer of Landstar. In her petition, Ms. Sepulvado
alleged that the Tedders were liable in allowing customers to
constantly park along the state right-of-way and failing to
ensure safe ingress and egress out of the parking lot.
Tedders filed a motion for summary judgment on February 16,
2018. They alleged that the Louisiana Department of Public
Safety, rather than private citizens, is charged with the
duty to enforce traffic laws regarding vehicles parked
illegally on the shoulder of a state highway. They also
allege that they did not own the view-obstructing vehicle,
nor do they encourage vehicles to park illegally on the
shoulder of the highway adjacent to their restaurant.
hearing on the motion for summary judgment was held on
January 22, 2019. The trial court signed a judgment on
January 31, 2019, granting summary judgment in favor of the
Tedders and dismissing Ms. Sepulvado's claims against
them. Ms. Sepulvado then filed the present appeal.
moving party is entitled to summary judgment when it shows
that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that it
is "entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
La.Code Civ.P. art. 966(A)(3). Summary judgment is favored by
law and provides a vehicle by which "the just, speedy,
and inexpensive determination" of an action may be
achieved. La.Code Civ.P. art. 966(A)(2).
Appellate courts review summary judgments de novo under the
same criteria that govern a district court's
consideration of whether summary judgment is appropriate.
Greemon v. City of Bossier City, 2010-2828 (La.
7/1/11), 65 So.3d 1263, 1267; Samaha v. Rau,
2007-1726 (La. 2/26/08), 977 So.2d 880, 882; Allen v.
State ex rel. Ernest N. Morial-New Orleans Exhibition Hall
Authority, 2002-1072 (La. 4/9/03), 842 So.2d 373, 377.
In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the judge's
role is not to evaluate the weight of the evidence or to
determine the truth of the matter, but instead to determine
whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact. All doubts
should be resolved in the non-moving party's favor.
Hines v. Garrett, 2004-0806 (La. 6/25/04), 876 So.2d
764, 765. A fact is material if it potentially ensures or
precludes recovery, affects a litigant's ultimate
success, or determines the outcome of the ...