Louisiana Record

Sunday, August 25, 2019

1st Circuit affirms judgment in inlet protector liability case

By Dawn Geske | May 17, 2018

| Pixaby

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal has granted summary judgment to Alvarez Construction Co. and Navigator Specialty Insurance Co. in a case over their liability of an inlet protector covering a storm drain on a construction site.

The initial suit was filed by Theresa P. Granier and Linda Pace, who claim they were injured after stepping over a storm drain onto a wire frame, also known as an inlet protector. The two women say on Nov. 14, 2013, they tripped over the inlet protector, fell to the street, and were severely injured, according to the appeals opinion filed by Judge J. Theriot.

The suit was filed in the 19th Judicial District Court in 2014. The District Court ruled in favor of Alvarez Construction and Navigator Specialty Insurance at the time, granting summary judgment.

The women filed an instant appeal with the 1st Circuit, citing five arguments in their case. They claimed the trial court erred by granting summary judgment to the defendants, by evaluating the case with the wrong Louisiana provision, in ruling the inlet protector was not unreasonably dangerous, in finding it open and obvious and because the evidence presented showed the women were familiar with the location.

The appeals court used a de novo standard to review the case, according to the court opinion. This took no decision or method used by the District Court into consideration. The Appeals Court found favor with the appellees in all of the appellants' arguments on appeal. The inlet protector was found to be obvious and clearly visible and that Alverez Construction had no duty to protect the public from injury.

The appeals court granted summary judgment to Alverez Construction and Navigator Specialty Insurance and ordered that all costs of the appeal be paid by Granier and Pace.

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Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal