GRETNA –– A nearly half-million dollar judgment in favor of two brothers injured when an ambulance crashed into their truck was not excessive, an appeals court ruled.
In the Aug. 10 opinion, the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment handed down by the 24th Judicial District Court in Gerald and Casey Latulippe's lawsuit against West Jefferson Medical Center and ambulance driver Jeremy Brown.
The plaintiffs and their wives filed the lawsuit after a 2015 accident on the Crescent City Connection Bridge. According to court documents, the ambulance driver slammed in the rear of the Latulippe's pick-up truck. Brown did not attempt to use his brakes, because he didn't want to injure a patient and medic in the back of the ambulance.
After the accident, Gerard Latulippe sought treatment at Slidell Memorial Hospita for cervical strain and myofascial lumbar strain. Casey Latulippe was treated for whiplash, cervical sprain and back pain, impacting his ability to work as a construction laborer.
After a bench trial, the lower court awarded Gerard Latulippe $150,000 in general damages and $37,140.75 in special damages for past medical treatment. The judge awarded Casey Latulippe $200,000 in general damages, $53,659.66 in special damages for past medical treatment and $11,000 for past wages. The court also awarded damages for the cost of physical therapy and medication costs, approximately $41,000.
In the appeal, West Jefferson Medical Center argued the lower court abused its discretion by awarding an "abusively high" amount. In the answer to the appeal, the plaintiffs called the award "abusively low."
The appeals court did not find the lower court abused its discretion.
Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal Case number 18-CA-83