The Louisiana Jury Verdict Reporter, June 2022, 13 LaJVR 6
Truck Negligence – Three plaintiffs were injured (one more seriously than they other two requiring a cervical fusion) in a tractor-trailer lane incursion collision.
Stubbs et al v. Lovorn & Lovorn Trucking, 2:18-8881
Plaintiff: Vanessa Motta, Motta Law, New Orleans
Defense: Andre C. Gaudin and Joseph J. Valencino, III, Burglass & Tankersley, Metairie
Verdict: $920,000 for Stubbs
$125,000 for Bahan
$118,000 for Turner
Federal: New Orleans
Judge: Jay C. Zainey
There was a lane incursion crash in New Orleans on 9-27-17 on I-10 near the Elysian Fields exit that involved a tractor-trailer. Terry Baham traveled in the center lane in a F-250 pick-up truck. Baham’s passengers were Yalonda Stubbs and Stephen Turner.
Next to the Baham vehicle in traffic was Timmy Moore. He was driving a tractor-trailer for Lovorn & Lovorn Trucking. They are a National Fire & Marine Insurance insured. Moore suddenly changed lanes and struck the Baham vehicle. The occupants (Baham, Stubbs and Turner) would recall it was a violent jolt. For Moore’s part he didn’t even feel the impact and there was virtually no vehicle damage. In any event Moore was cited at the scene for the unsafe lane change and later pled guilty.
All three occupants of the vehicle have since claimed injuries. Stubbs was hurt most seriously and later underwent a cervical fusion surgery. Her medical proof came from a combination of Dr. Eric Lonseth, Pain Management and Dr. Peter Liechty, Orthopedics – Liechty performed the surgery. There was proof Stubbs will require a significant course of future care. Turner and Baham also received pain management care from Lonseth.
In this lawsuit the three plaintiffs (Stubbs, Turner and Baham) sought damages from Moore and his employer. Their case was simple enough – Moore changed lanes, there was a hard hit and they all sustained injuries. Each plaintiff sought a combination of medicals, future medicals and assorted non-economic damages in several categories.
This case was tried for four days. As the jury deliberated the case it had a question for Judge Zainey. Can we get copies of the breakdown of the funds that each plaintiff is asking for? The court answered that the jury must rely on the testimony.
The jury answered that Moore’s negligence was a “cause of contributed” to each of the plaintiff’s injuries. Baham took medicals of $40,000 and $85,000 for past suffering. His future care, future suffering, mental anguish and loss of ability to enjoy life were rejected. Baham’s verdict totaled $125,000.
Similarly Turner took medicals of $18,000, but nothing for future care. His pain and suffering was $20,000 and he took $80,000 more for mental anguish. His future non-economic damages were rejected. Turner was awarded a total of $118,000.
The third plaintiff, Stubbs, took $320,000 in medicals plus $160,000 more for future care. Her past suffering was $160,000 – that in the future was $80,000. Her past mental anguish was $100,000 – that in the future was half that sum. Disability was rejected but Stubbs took $50,000 for loss of ability to enjoy life.
The verdict for Stubbs totaled $920,000. That sum included $440,000 in non-economic damages which was 1.375 the awarded medical bills. A consistent judgement was entered for each of the plaintiffs.
The defense has since moved for post-trial relief regarding Stubbs’ verdict. The defense particularly challenged the future medicals as unsupported by a life care plan expert or an economist. Stubbs replied that her medical providers (Liechty and Lonseth) testified as to her future care and in fact, she put on proof of $216,037 for future medicals. She was only awarded $160,000. The motion was pending at the time of this report.