Mardi Gras float trial continued without date

Alejandro de los Rios Jan. 6, 2011, 4:00am


A trial involving an accident and subsequent injuries on a Mardi Gras float has been continued without date after the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and an unidentified insurance company were added as defendants.

Michael and Kim Duplantier are suing the Krewe of Pygmalion, Paidia Club Inc. (doing business as the Bards of Bohemia), and the NOPD, after the Mardi Gras float the couple was riding on crashed into a tree and allegedly cause debilitating injuries to Michael Duplantier.

A bench trial set for Jan. 10 had originally been listed on the docket. Judge Robin Giarusso is overseeing the case.

Assistant City Attorney Detrich Hebert is representing the city of New Orleans and the NOPD. Metairie attorneys Michael Futrell and Cy Lowe are representing Pygmalion and their insurer, Scottsdale Insurance Co. New Orleans attorney Thomas Schwab is representing the Bards.

Gretna attorney James Shields Sr. filed the original petition for damages in June 2005. The suit claims that, "a series of negligent, reckless decisions was made" by the NOPD and Pygmalion officials by trying to get the float to catch up to the rest of the parade. The suit claims that the NOPD and Pygmalion were negligent in allowing the float to travel at excess speeds to try and catch up to the parade and that the accident is a direct cause of that decision-making.

The Duplantiers claim were riding on a Mardi Gras float in January 2005 owned by the Krewe of Pygmalion and contracted to the Bards of Bohemia when the tractor which was pulling the float experienced a flat tired. After several delays in repairing the tractor, the float tried to catch up to the parade, which had already left and, in the process of passing a cleaning crew, struck a tree's overhanging limbs causing the top section of the float to break and fall on top of Michael Duplantier, causing "crippling" injuries to his spine.

Entergy Corp. was originally named as a defendant in the suit – the New Orleans electricity provider is charged with clearing overhanging limbs on Mardi Gras parade routes – but the plaintiffs filed motion to dismiss Entergy without prejudice in July 2006.

Orleans Parish Case 2005-07739

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