Motion for retrial in nine-year-old slip and fall suit to be heard

Alejandro de los Rios Aug. 27, 2010, 4:54am

Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Herbert Cade will hear a motion to reset trial and for a rehearing on a defense dismissal on Sept. 10 in a nine-year-old suit involving a woman that fell outside Harrah's Casino.

Stella Lee is suing the Jazz Casino Co., owner of Harrah's Casino, and the city of New Orleans, after she fell on a "hunk of concrete sticking up from the sidewalk" and "incurred injuries to her mind and body" back in March 2000.

New Orleans attorney Bonnie Zakotnik filed the original petition for damages in February 2001, incorrectly naming Louisiana Jazz Co., Harrah's Operating Company Inc., Harrah's New Orleans Management Co., Harrah's Jazz Finance Corp., Harrah's Jazz Finance Co., Harrah's Jazz Co., and Harrah's Jazz Casino as defendants.

Jazz Casino filed a notice in April 2001 informing the court that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Plaintiffs filed a stay for discovery against Jazz Casino and the city of New Orleans for the purpose of determining the size and owner of the sidewalk on St. Peters Street in front of the casino where the accident took place.

Plaintiffs filed an amended petition in May 2004 and filed for a request for a production of documents from Jazz Casino two months later, but Jazz Casino did not respond. No status conference was held and plaintiffs did not file a motion to compel a response.

In December 2007, Cade granted Jazz Casino's motion for dismissal on the grounds for abandonment, agreeing with the defense argument that the plaintiffs had not completed any steps in litigation in over three years.

Zakotnik argued the interrogatories filed New Orleans in March 2007 was a step in litigation, but Cade ruled that motion applied only to the city and not Jazz Casino. Cade also denied Zakotnik's motion to set aside dismissal in December 2007.

Following Jazz Casino's dismissal with prejudice, Zakotnik filed for a motion for a new trial in February 2008. A motion hearing was set for June 2008, but court documents state, "It is not clear from the record in this case or the electronic history what happened on June 6 20098(sic)."

Orleans Parish Case 2001-03416

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