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Strozier v. Loux

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 20, 2019

DAVID LEE STROZIER AND MELISSA STROZIER Plaintiffs-Appellants
v.
TERRY ALLEN LOUX, EVELYN MELTON BREAK LOUX, UNITED SERVICES AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION, ALLIED WASTE SERVICES AND PROGRESSIVE SECURITY INSURANCE COMPANY Defendants-Appellees

          Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. 155183 Honorable Jefferson Rowe Thompson, Judge

          JACKSON LAW OFFICE By: Patrick R. Jackson J. Kyle McCotter Counsel for Appellants

          TERRY ALLEN LOUX In Proper Person, Appellee

          LUNN, IRION, SALLEY, CARLISLE & GARDNER By: Alexander J. Mijalis Counsel for Appllees, Evelyn Melton Break Loux and United Services Automobile Association

          McGLINCHEY STAFFORD, PLLC By: Larry Feldman, Jr. Counsel for Appellee, Allied Waste Services

          WIENER, WEISS & MADISON By: Franklin H. Spruiell, Jr. Counsel for Appellee, Progressive Paloverde Insurance Company

          Before WILLIAMS, MOORE, and STONE, JJ.

          WILLIAMS, C.J.

         The plaintiffs, David Lee Strozier and Melissa Strozier, appeal a district court judgment granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants, Terry Allen Loux, Evelyn Melton Break Loux, United Services Automobile Association and Allied Waste Services. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTS

         On Saturday, April 8, 2017, the plaintiff, David Lee Strozier, was riding a motorcycle on Caplis Sligo Road in Bossier City, Louisiana, when he struck a trash can that was in the roadway. The trash can was utilized by the home owned by the defendants, Terry Allen Loux and Evelyn Melton Break Loux ("the Louxes"), and insured by the defendant, United Services Automobile Association ("USAA"). The trash can had been emptied the previous day by the defendant, Allied Waste Services ("Allied"). The plaintiff suffered multiple injures as a result of the collision.

         The plaintiff and his wife, Melissa Strozier, filed a lawsuit against the Louxes, USAA and Allied.[1] The plaintiffs alleged that the Louxes "negligently creat[ed] a roadway hazard." More specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that the Louxes negligently failed to maintain their property adjacent to the roadway and failed to remove their trash can from the roadway. The plaintiffs further alleged that Allied "negligently performed [its] duties of garbage retrieval and created a roadway hazard and/or did not prevent the continuance of a roadway hazard while performing [its] contracted duties." According to the plaintiffs, Allied failed to keep "hazardous property" outside of the roadway, failed to remove the trash can from the roadway and failed to safely perform its duties.

         On November 15, 2018, the Louxes and USAA filed a motion for summary judgment. They argued, inter alia, that "while Ms. Loux may have had a duty to act reasonably to prevent her trash can from impeding the roadway, there is absolutely no evidence that she breached such duty."

         On January 8, 2019, Allied moved for summary judgment arguing that the plaintiffs are "unable to prove any fact which would support any negligence on the part of Allied." Allied also argued that the plaintiffs were unable to prove that its conduct was the cause-in-fact or the legal cause of the injury. According to Allied, its employee emptied the trash can approximately 30 hours before the accident occurred, and removed it from the roadway. Allied further maintained that it had "no further control over the ...


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