APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 81, 3, DIVISION
"C" HONORABLE EMILE R. ST. PIERRE, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, KRYSTYN LANDRY TAYLOR M.
BURNHAM TERRY B. LOUP
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, CEVA LOGISTICS U.S., INC.
RAYMOND C. LEWIS M. ELIZABETH EVANS TAMPORELLO
composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Stephen J. Windhorst, and
Hans J. Liljeberg
STEPHEN J. WINDHORST JUDGE
personal injury action seeking compensatory and punitive
damages, appellant/plaintiff, Kristyn Landry, appeals the
trial court's judgment granting defendant's partial
motions for summary judgment and dismissing plaintiff's
negligent hiring, training, supervision and entrustment
claims and exemplary damages claim against CEVA Logistics
U.S., Inc. ("CEVA"). For the reasons stated, we
reverse in part the trial court's judgment dismissing
plaintiff's exemplary damages claim against CEVA, but
affirm the judgment to the extent it dismissed
plaintiff's separate negligent hiring, training,
supervision and entrustment claims against CEVA.
and Procedural History
Landry was injured in an automobile accident when her car was
struck by an eighteen wheeler tractor-trailer driven by
Jeremiah Rodney. On March 17, 2015, Rodney, an employee of
CEVA, was driving an eighteen wheeler heading eastbound on
Highway 90 in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. As he approached
the traffic signal near the entrance to the Wal-Mart on
Highway 90, he rear-ended two vehicles which were stopped at
a red light, one in the right lane and one in the left lane.
The vehicle in the right lane was being operated by Elizabeth
Johnson; the vehicle in the left lane was being operated by
Ms. Landry. After striking the two vehicles, Rodney veered
into the westbound lane of Highway 90 and collided with a
third vehicle being driven by Rebecca Matherne.
February 4, 2016, Ms. Landry filed a petition for damages
naming Rodney, CEVA and National Union Fire Insurance Company
of Pittsburgh as defendants. In her petition, plaintiff
asserted that (1) Rodney was negligent; (2) Rodney was
operating his vehicle in an impaired or intoxicated state
under the influence of Xanax and cocaine and sought exemplary
damages against Rodney for the same; (3) CEVA was jointly,
severally, solidarily, and vicariously liable for
Rodney's negligence as his employer; and (4) CEVA was
negligent in failing to properly select, train and/or
supervise Rodney in entrusting its vehicle to him.
answer, CEVA admitted that Rodney was its employee, but
denied that he was in the course and scope of his employment
at the time of the accident. Significantly, however, CEVA
later admitted both employment and course and scope in its
responses to plaintiff's discovery requests.
February 13, 2019, CEVA filed two motions for partial summary
judgment. In one motion, CEVA asserted that it is not
vicariously liable for any punitive damages which may be
awarded against Rodney. In the second motion, CEVA asserted
that Ms. Landry's separate claims of negligent hiring,
training, supervision and entrustment against it were
improper because it had stipulated Rodney was in the course
and scope of his employment, thereby accepting vicarious
liability for Rodney's acts. The trial court granted
CEVA's motions for partial summary judgment, ruling that
(1) CEVA, as Rodney's employer, cannot be held liable for
exemplary damages awarded against him; and (2) because the
issues of employment and course and scope have been resolved
by the admissions of record, Ms. Landry may not
simultaneously maintain independent tort claims against both
Rodney and CEVA. The trial court dismissed with prejudice
plaintiff's negligent hiring, training, supervision and
entrustment claims and exemplary damages claim against CEVA.
presents the following assignments of error: (1) whether the
trial court erred in concluding that an employer cannot be
held vicariously liable for exemplary damages; (2) whether
the trial court erred in concluding that plaintiff could not
maintain causes of action against the defendant employer for
negligent hiring, training, supervision, and entrustment
after that defendant employer has admitted that the employee
was acting within the course and scope of his employment at
the time of the accident; (3) whether the trial court erred
in concluding that a defendant employer cannot be held liable
for exemplary damages independently through a negligent
entrustment claim; and (4) whether the trial court erred in
granting defendant's motions for partial summary judgment
and dismissing plaintiffs claims with prejudice.
courts review a judgment granting a motion for summary
judgment de novo using the same criteria governing
the trial court's consideration of whether summary
judgment is appropriate. Rayfield v. Millet Motel
15-496 (La.App. 5 Cir. 1/27/16), 185 So.3d 183, 185. "A
motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the motion,
memorandum, and supporting documents show that there is no
genuine issue as to material fact and that the mover is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." La. C.C.P.
art. 966 (A)(2). To determine if summary judgment is
appropriate, this Court must ask the same questions as the
trial court: is there any question of material fact, and is
the mover entitled to judgment as a matter of law? Curtis
v. Rome, 98-0966 (La.App. 4 Cir. 5/5/99), 735 So.2d 822,
824, writ denied sub nom Rambo v. Rome, 99-1617 (La.
10/1/99), 748 So.2d 441, citing Walker v. Kroop,
96-618 (La.App. 4 Cir. 7/24/96), 678 So.2d 580, 582.
Liability of an Employer ...