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Rodrigue v. Travelers Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

January 8, 2020

RICHARD A. RODRIGUE
v.
THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY; PUGET SOUND COMMERCE CENTER, INC. (F/K/A TODD SHIPYARDS CORPORATION, F/K/A TODD-JOHNSON DRY DOCKS, INC.); EAGLE, INC. (F/K/A EAGLE ASBESTOS & PACKING COMPANY, INC.); LOUISIANA INSURANCE GUARANTY ASSOCIATION

          Appeal From Civil District Court, Orleans Parish No. 2018-02510, Division "A" Honorable Ellen M Hazeur, Judge.

          Gerolyn P. Roussel Perry J. Roussel, Jr. ROUSSEL & CLEMENT COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

          Court composed of Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Paula A. Brown.

          LEDET, J., CONCURS WITH REASONS

          Paula A. Brown Judge.

         This civil matter involves a dispute over the refund owed from unexpended jury deposit costs. Mr. Rodrigue seeks review of the district court's judgments that denied his ex parte motion for release of the $5, 600.00 deposited for jury trial cost ("motion for refund") and his motion for new trial. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the district court and remand this matter to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 14, 2018, Mr. Rodrigue filed a petition for damages against several defendants to recover damages allegedly incurred as a result of Mr. Rodrigue contracting mesothelioma. Mr. Rodrigue demanded a trial by jury. On April 6, 2018, the district court issued the jury deposit order setting forth the cash deposit requirements for a jury trial and the conditions for a refund of unexpended funds.[1] The jury deposit order provided, in part, the following:

         IT IS ORDERED that the party requesting a jury trial shall make a cash deposit with the Clerk of Court in the amount of $2, 000.00 for the first day of trial and $400.00 for each additional day the trial is expected to last. . . .

         In the event the case is settled, the party depositing the funds shall receive a refund of this deposit as follows.

1. All funds less $1, 500.00 shall be refunded, only if the Court is notified, in writing, 30 (thirty) days in advance of trial indicating that the case is resolved or will proceed to trial by judge;
2. If the case settles within the dates the trial was scheduled to proceed, the court shall cast the party requesting the jury trial an additional $320.00 in jury costs.
3. If the case proceeds to trial by jury, the remaining funds on deposit shall be used to pay all jury costs. The court may require an additional deposit for costs as needed.
4. The above deposit schedule only applies to the calling of a standard venire. In the event that the case requires more potential jurors because of the length of the case or other factors, ...

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