FROM THE EUNICE CITY COURT PARISH OF ST. LANDRY, NO. 30,
269-18 HONORABLE MARK T. HOYCHICK, CITY COURT JUDGE.
Lynn Mayeux Attorney at Law Post Office Drawer Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellee: Earl Ivory.
Michael Wayne Landry Staff Counsel for Safeway Insurance
Counsel for Defendants/Appellants: Safeway Insurance Company
of Louisiana Jake Vidrine.
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Phyllis M.
Keaty, and Candyce G. Perret, Judges.
PHYLLIS M. KEATY JUDGE.
appeal the trial court's judgment regarding liability and
general damages. For the following reasons, the trial
court's judgment is affirmed.
& PROCEDURAL HISTORY
personal injury matter stems from an automobile collision on
June 4, 2018, in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Eunice,
Louisiana, between Earl Ivory and Jake Vidrine. On July 12,
2018, Ivory filed a petition for damages against Vidrine and
his automobile insurer, Safeway Insurance Company of
Louisiana (hereinafter collectively referred to as
Defendants). Ivory alleged he was driving his 1989 red
Chevrolet truck when Vidrine, who was driving a 2010 white
Dodge Charger, was traveling at a high rate of speed and
crashed into the driver's side door of Ivory's truck.
Ivory claimed that Vidrine failed to keep a proper lookout,
drove carelessly and recklessly, failed to yield to the right
of way, failed to adequately slow down while driving through
a parking lot, failed to stop before crashing into
Ivory's truck, failed to exercise the last clear chance
to avoid the accident, failed to do what Vidrine should have
done and see what he should have seen under the
circumstances, and any other acts of negligence that would be
shown at trial. According to his petition, Ivory sustained
personal injuries to his head, neck, back, arms, and legs,
which required medical treatment. Ivory sought damages for
past, present, and future pain and suffering, disability,
mental anguish, anxiety, medical expenses, loss of use and
enjoyment, and depreciation of the value of his truck.
Defendants answered the petition and disputed liability,
causation, damages, coverage, ownership, and model year of
the truck operated by Ivory. Defendants further asserted the
affirmative defense of "no pay, no play."
a one-day bench trial on April 3, 2019, the trial court
denied Defendants' affirmative defense of "no pay no
play." It determined that Ivory owned and operated a
1992 Chevy S-10, which was insured by State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Company on the date of the accident. The
trial court ruled the accident resulted from the comparative
fault of both Ivory and Vidrine and assessed each driver
fifty percent of the fault. It held that Ivory sustained $20,
000.00 in general damages, $2, 132.90 in medical expenses,
and $1, 500.00 in property damages. In light of its finding
of comparative fault, the trial court ordered Defendants to
pay Ivory $10, 000.00 in general damages, $1, 066.45 in
medical expenses, and $750.00 in property damages, plus
judicial interest from date of judicial demand until paid. It
set the expert witness fee for the testimony of Dr. Reginald
Segar to $1, 000.00, as court costs, and ordered Ivory and
Defendants to each pay one-half of all court costs. The trial
court's judgment was signed on April 22, 2019. It is from
this judgment that Defendants appeal.
appeal, Defendants assert the following assignments of error:
(1) [T]he trial judge committed legal error in determining
that plaintiff proved he was the owner of the vehicle
involved in the accident, after the trial judge correctly
factually determined that the vehicle involved in the
accident was a 1992 Chevy S-10.
(2) [T]he trial judge committed legal error in determining
that plaintiff was covered by auto liability insurance after
the trial judge correctly factually determined that the
vehicle involved in the accident was a 1992 Chevy S-10.
(3) [T]he trial judge committed legal error in awarding any
compensatory damages since the plaintiff was uninsured at the
time of the accident and the damages for bodily injury did
not exceed $15, 000 and the amount for property damage did
not exceed $25, 000.
(4) [T]he trial judge committed legal error in failing to
determine that Ivory was one hundred percent at fault in
causing this accident.
Duncan v. Kansas City Southern Railway Co., 00-66,
pp. 10-11 (La. 10/30/00), 773 So.2d 670, 680-81, the
Louisiana Supreme Court explained the standard of review
regarding comparative fault determinations as follows:
As with other factual determinations, the trier of fact is
vested with much discretion in its allocation of fault.
[Clement v. Frey, 95-1119 (La. 1/16/96), 666 So.2d
607]. Therefore, an appellate court should only disturb the
trier of fact's allocation of fault when it is clearly
wrong or manifestly erroneous. Only after making a
determination that the trier of fact's apportionment of
fault is clearly wrong can an appellate court disturb the
award, and then only to the extent of lowering it or raising
it to the highest or lowest point respectively which is
reasonably within the trial court's discretion.
Clement, 666 So.2d at 611; Coco v. Winston
Industries, Inc., 341 So.2d 332, 335 (La.1977).
their fourth assignment of error, Defendants contend the
trial court committed legal error in failing to determine
Ivory was one hundred percent at fault in causing the
accident. The trial court determined the accident resulted
from the comparative fault ...