Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Smith v. Howell

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

December 30, 2019

BLANCHE SMITH
v.
DORIS HOWELL, ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO. 258, 156 HONORABLE MONIQUE RAULS, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Bonita Preuett-Armour COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company Doris Howell

          Joseph Payne Williams, Jr. Williams Family Law Firm COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Ins.Co.

          Brian M. Caubarreaux Eugene A. Ledet, Jr. Emily Gremillion Wesley K. Elmer Laura B. Knoll Brian Caubarreaux & Associates COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Blanche Smith

          Court composed of Billy Howard Ezell, D. Kent Savoie, and Van H. Kyzar, Judges.

          D. KENT SAVOIE JUDGE

         In this auto accident case, Defendants Doris Howell ("Ms. Howell") and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm") appeal the trial court's partial summary judgment assessing them with one hundred percent liability. For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter for further proceedings.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On July 12, 2016, Blanche Smith ("Ms. Smith") and Ms. Howell were involved in an auto accident on Coliseum Boulevard ("Coliseum") in Alexandria, Louisiana. Coliseum is a divided highway with a median separating the eastbound lanes from the westbound lanes. Ms. Howell was initially driving on the westbound side of Coliseum, with her husband riding in the passenger seat. From the left turn lane, Ms. Howell turned left into the intersection of Coliseum and Vandenburg Drive ("Vandenburg") and then proceeded to make a left turn, or U-turn, into the eastbound side of Coliseum. In doing so, Ms. Howell's vehicle collided with a vehicle driven by Ms. Smith on the eastbound side of Coliseum, near the intersection of Coliseum and Vandenburg.

         On February 23, 2017, Ms. Smith filed a petition seeking damages she claims were sustained in the July 12, 2016 accident and naming Ms. Howell, and Ms. Howell's insurer, State Farm, as Defendants. She also named her own auto insurer, Louisiana Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company ("Farm Bureau"), as a defendant; however, her uninsured motorist claims against Farm Bureau were dismissed pursuant to a consent judgment filed October 20, 2017, with a reservation of rights to assert a claim for medical payments coverage against Farm Bureau.

         On February 28, 2019, Ms. Smith filed a motion for partial summary judgment seeking a ruling that Ms. Howell was solely at fault in connection with the subject accident, and therefore, that Ms. Howell and State Farm were liable for one hundred percent of any damages Ms. Smith sustained in the accident. Therein, Ms. Smith argued it was undisputed that Ms. Howell "breached her duty as a reasonable and prudent motorist by failing to see what should have been seen under the circumstances." In support of her motion, Ms. Smith submitted the deposition testimony of Ms. Howell, as well as the exhibits attached to Ms. Howell's deposition, which included a copy of Ms. Howell's driver's license, a copy of Ms. Howell's Registration Certificate pertaining to her vehicle, a photograph of Ms. Howell's vehicle following the accident, and a copy of a "Google Earth" image showing the intersection of Coliseum and Vandenburg and the location of the accident. During the hearing on the motion for partial summary judgment, Ms. Howell's deposition and attached exhibits were accepted into evidence without objection. No other exhibits or affidavits were submitted in support of Ms. Smith's motion.

         In her deposition, Ms. Howell testified as follows with respect to the subject accident when questioned by counsel:

A. Well, we went to this little Dollar General . . . and then I was going to go to Wal-Mart. And I had to pull out on the highway [Coliseum] and I pulled out and I waited until the traffic on the other side come down the road, and then I pulled out and I hit a car. But I don't know where the car come from and I don't remember seeing it until after it was all over with.
Q. All right. Before you decided to make your turn, before the accident happened, you first started going west on . . . Coliseum Boulevard, correct?
A. Yes.
Q. And then you got to the turning lane at the intersection of Vandenburg?
A. Yes.
Q. Okay. And then you waited for the cars to pass you that were coming the opposition direction?
A. Yes.
Q. Okay. And you never saw Ms. Blanche Smith, where she was coming from?
A. I never saw her at all. Now, when it happened, my husband said where did that car come from because we hadn't seen her, we don't know. But she was there[, ] and we hit her and that was that.
Q. Okay. Do you know if Ms. Blanche Smith, the person you hit, do you know if she did anything wrong to ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.