Louisiana Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Court affirms summary judgment in elevator injury at Earl K. Long Medical Center

By Robert Davis | Mar 28, 2018

BATON ROUGE — A panel of judges for the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the State of Louisiana, Louisiana State University Agricultural and Mechanical College, Earl K. Long Medical Center (EKL) and Stratos Elevator Inc. in a case involving a misfunctioning elevator. 

Judge Allison H. Penzato gave the court's opinion, which was issued on March 21. Judges Toni M. Higginbotham and Guy Holdridge also were on the panel.

According to the opinion, the plaintiff, Patricia Bowen, argued that the trial court made four errors in granting summary judgment: "1) granting EKL's motion for summary judgment despite its failure to comply with pending discovery; 2) granting EKL's motion for summary judgment despite its failure to preserve evidence; 3) granting summary judgment despite two expert affidavits and other evidence that appeared to negate the asserted bases for the summary judgments; and 4) failing to comply with Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 1425( F)."

The court said that after adequate discovery, a summary judgment is warranted if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions, together with affidavits, if any, admitted for purposes of the motion, show that there is no genuine issue as to material fact."

Bowen filed the suit on Oct. 9, 2013, after allegedly being injured by an elevator in the Earl K. Long Medical Center. According to Bowen's testimony, the elevator dropped and then abruptly went up as she exited, which allegedly caused her to sustain serious injuries.

She argued that the defendants were negligent in performing regular and proper maintenance on the elevator. 

The court found that Bowen's argument of negligence was moot because the trial court "reviewed and considered expert reports submitted by Ms. Bowen."

The court further argued that the plaintiff "fail[ed] to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether EKL either knew or should have known of any alleged defect in the elevator."

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Earl K. Long Medical Center Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal State of Louisiana