Parties dispute expert witnesses in French Quarter bar suit

Alejandro de los Rios May 13, 2011, 4:11am


Plaintiff and defendants have filed dueling motions in a lawsuit over noise emitting from a French Quarter bar.

New Orleans lawyer Frank D'Amico is plaintiff and counsel in a lawsuit filed in a lawsuit filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court aiming to shut down a bar near his residence in the Vieux Carre neighborhood.

D'Amico, along with his wife Nancy and the non-profit groups Vieux Carre Property Owners and French Quarter Citizens Inc., are suing KMD Inc., which operates the Gold Mine Saloon. The plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment finding that the bar has been operating illegally in a residential neighborhood.

KMD filed a motion to strike expert sound witnesses submitted by the plaintiffs. The defense claims the plaintiff's experts "did not employ acceptable methodologies in their efforts to conduct noise measurements."

"Neither witness is an acoustical engineer ... their testimony amounts to rank speculation," the motion states.

The motion also claims that one of the expert witnesses serves as a private investigator for one of the law firms that filed the suit.

Orleans Parish Judge Herbert Cade will hear arguments on this motion May 20.

The motion was filed the same day that a plaintiff motion regarding the defendant's witness list.

D'Amico's motion, filed in April, stated that the defendant's witness list was submitted after a filing deadline. The motion also claimed that the defendants had not made the plaintiffs available for depositions.

Court documents indicate that a consent agreement resolving the motion and extending discovery until May 25. The order states that depositions of the expert witnesses must be completed by the discovery deadline and a status conference will take place the same day.

New Orleans attorneys Alan Alario II, Stuart Smith and Barry Cooper Jr. filed the original petition in July 2009.

D'Amico enlisted as counsel in August 2009. The suit claims that the Gold Mine's owner, Barbara Bear (aka Barbara Brinks), is liable for violating zoning ordinances for noise and nuisance and is subject to loss of her liquor license.

An amended petition filed April 21 added Scottsdale Insurance and American Empire Surplus Lines and sought damages for loss of enjoyment of property, loss of enjoyment of life, diminished property value, anxiety and emotional distress.

New Orleans attorneys Bruce Parkerson and Scott Mason represent Scottsdale Insurance. They filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss Scottsdale as a defendant, citing that Scottsdale's policy with Gold Mine "does not provide liability coverage." Plaintiffs dismissed Scottsdale with prejudice Oct. 25.

Lafayette attorney Richard Petre Jr. represents American Empire.

Petre filed a motion to set a jury trial for the case in August 2010. A case management order signed by Judge Cade set a five-day jury trial to begin in June 2011.

Orleans Parish Case 2009-08049

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