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After a routine mosquito abatement flight, an airplane crash that left two dead will likely lead to changes at a Slidell airport.

Wayne Fisher, 68, and Donald Pechon, 59, were found dead after another pilot reported seeing a spark of electricity from high-power transmission lines near the Slidell Municipal Airport followed by a plume of flame just north of a runway.  The pilots collided with the transmission towers, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.  The report notes that it was a calm, clear night at the time of the crash, with visibility at 10 miles.  According to Airport manager Richard Artigue, both men were experienced pilots and Fisher was a reserved deputy with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and flew helicopters in that capacity.

The primary factor in the crash, appears to be the location of the towers in relation to the airport.  Even though the towers conform to Federal Aviation Administration regulations, Artigue reported that local officials have long recognized the potential safety hazard.   While the only other fatal crash at Slidell Municipal Airport occurred in 1974, the April 19 crash has compelled officials to address the relocation of the transmission lines. As Artigue noted, the airport is used by far less experienced pilots than Fisher and Pechon and is heavily utilized for student pilot training.

Duck Commander Inc., the company behind Duck Dynasty, and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development have been named defendants in a lawsuit filed by Jennifer Young, the mother of Madison Welch.

Filed in St. Martin Parish, the suit maintains that Madison Welch’s accident was not simple user error, but rather the result of an 18-wheeler operated “by agents, employees and/or licensees of Duck Commander Inc.” cutting into Welch’s lane and forcing her off the road.  This allegation evidently arises from a phone conversation Welch was engaged with at the time of the incident.  The friend who was on the other end reported that Welch exclaimed something about a nearby truck and then the line went silent.  Shortly after being told by the friend of what occurred, Welch’s family was notified of the accident. Welch’s Toyota Tacoma left the road and flipped, ejecting her.  Welch later succumbed to her injuries and died.

Young’s case additionally relies on the testimony of William Kirksey, who claimed to have witnessed the entire event and was one of the first people on the scene.  Kirksey stated that two 18-wheelers were exiting the freeway at the same time as Welch.  Both were in line, but at one point, one of them swerved into Welch’s lane, apparently causing her to veer off the road.

An Oklahoma woman has filed suit against Rolls-Royce over the death of her husband, alleging that the engine of the helicopter he was piloting was defective and caused the fatal crash.

Collen Ricks of Grady County, Oklahoma, along with her two minor children, sued the Rolls-Royce Corporation on March 30 in the United States Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  The complaint alleged that the defendant aircraft engine provider defectively designed and/or manufactured turbine systems that would develop cracks in the exhaust system.

According to the suit,  Brandon Ricks was piloting a Model 206 L-1 Bell Helicopter on a public use flight near Saucier, Mississippi pursuant to a contract with the U.S. Forest Service.  At some point during this flight, the helicopter suddenly lost power, causing the fatal crash in question.

On March 29, suit was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by Kathryn Swanson, both individually and as special administrator of Denis I. Swanson, her late husband.  Swanson has alleged breach of duty and negligence on the part of McDermott International Inc. and McDermott Inc., claiming that they are at fault for the death of her husband.

According to the suit, Denis Swanson work on derrick barges owned by the defendants and was under their employ for approximately twenty years, from 1977 to 1997.  The suit posits that it was during this time that Swanson was exposed to asbestos, suffering personal injuries and eventually death due to the negligence of the defendants and the unseaworthiness of their vessels.

The complaint states that the defendants failed to maintain their vessels and equipment in a safe and reasonable condition, failed to warn of the dangers of asbestos exposure, failed to provide safe and proper protective equipment, and failed to design, construct, repair, and maintain their vessels in a safe manner.

Anthony Buffinet was aboard the Cry Baby, the fishing vessel Cry Baby, when it was struck by another vessel, according to the suit filed by Buffinet on March 29 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Purportedly, on March 25, 2013, the Cry Baby, owned and operated by Buffinet, was moored at dock in Leeville when it was struck by the DMO Resolve, owned and operated by Dale Martin Offshore LLC.  Buffinet’s suit names Dale Martin Offshore LLC as the defendant, asserting that the fault of the matter is their’s as they failed to maintain proper course and speed, failed to take preventative measures in averting the collision, and negligently operated their vessel.

In addition to damaging the Cry Baby, Buffinet himself was allegedly injured to such a degree that he has been unable to perform his usual duties and has been rendered disabled.  Additionally, he has suffered financial loss and mental pain.

Sometimes, it is the smallest things that leave the largest impact.  On or about March 14, 2014, Brent Little was an employee of Halliburton Energy Services Inc. and serving on the Liftboat Vanessa in the Gulf of Mexico.  It was at this time that a prank was allegedly played on Little.  John Barrow, a fellow crewman, allegedly slipped red tracer dye into Little’s boot.  According to reports, Little wore the tampered boot for 14 hours that day and, upon removing the boots, heard laughter and noticed pink footprints on the floor.  The die stained Little’s foot for three weeks and it was at this time that Little was informed that red tracer dye was a carcinogen.

Flash forward more than a year to May 16, 2015, when Little was involved in an automobile accident, the fallout of which required him to take a CT scan.  According to Little, the scan revealed he had thyroid cancer, forcing him to undergo a thyroidectomy and the removal of lymph nodes.

Little filed suit on March 14 of this year in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against Halliburton and John Barrow, citing negligence.  After the initial incident, Halliburton launched an investigation and found John Barrow responsible for the prank.  One such reason for Little suing Halliburton in addition to Barrow is likely that the jar of red tracer dye in question was under the care and custody of Halliburton, yet it was stored in the crew’s living quarters and had no label or warning signs that identified it as hazardous.

Several corporations and other defendants have been taken to court by a New Orleans woman who claims to have developed ovarian cancer after using defendants’ products.

Paula Jackson filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana New Orleans Division on March 16, naming Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc., Luzenac America Inc., Rio Tinto Minerals Inc., John Does/Jane Does 1-30, and other businesses and/or corporations, whose identities and involvement are as of yet unknown, as defendants.  The Doe defendants are representatives of the corporations whose conduct allegedly caused or contributed to the damages of the plaintiff.

The issues of this case primarily revolve around products containing talc, which defendants Johnson manufactured and defendants Luzenac and Rio have continually marketed as safe for human use.  From about 1974 to 2015, Jackson applied defendants’ products to her groin for feminine hygiene purposes, which is a foreseeable use of such products based on their advertising according to the suit.  On September 27, 2015, Jackson was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 62.  Prior to this diagnosis, she allegedly did not have any of the risk factors normally associated with such a disease.

A veteran of both the New Orleans Police Department and the Vietnam War is suing 3M Co. due to an alleged defect in its Bair Hugger Blanket Device that lead to the amputation of his leg.

Lee Edward Peyton filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on March 4 against 3M Co. and Arizant Healthcare Inc., alleging breach of express warranty, design defect, and liability under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.

According to the suit, Peyton underwent total knee joint replacement surgery in his left knee at Omega Hospital in Jefferson Parish.  During the surgery, a Bair Hugger blanket was used keep Peyton warm.  The device utilizes a portable heater/blower connected by a flexible hose to a disposable blanket that is placed on or under a patient to keep them warm by blowing hot air through the tube and blanket onto the patient.

GlaxoSmithKline LLC, the makers of Zofran, have been sued in federal court by a couple claiming that taking Zofran during pregnancy caused birth defects in their son.

Sicily Lafleur and Justin Lee Thibodeaux, both individually and as parents and natural tutors of their son, Kaden L. Lafleur, a minor, filed suit against GlaxoSmithKline LLC on February 23 in the U.S. District Court for the the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division.  The claims cited are negligence, misrepresentation, fraud, and breach of implied and express warranty.

According to the suit, Lafleur was prescribed Zofran in the beginning of her first trimester to alleviate morning sickness by her health care provider in Lafayette.  The product of that pregnancy, Kaden L. Lafleur, was born on November 7, 2012, with congenital heart defects.  The plaintiffs allege that these defects are a direct and proximate result of Kaden’s prenatal exposure to Zofran.  As a result of these defects, Kaden purportedly required surgery immediately after birth as well as extensive follow-up treatments.

An incident during last year’s Krewe of Excalibur Carnival parade in Metairie has resulted in civil repercussions.  Don J. Dauzat, 52, was struck and killed by an allegedly drunk motorist who was purportedly pursued by a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy at the time.  Now, Dazuat’s family has filed a wrongful-death suit in the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, naming the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Excalibur, King Arthur, PFJ Float Co., and others as defendants.

According to the suit, Dauzat had finished dropping off the float he was pulling for the Excalibur parade and was transporting a tractor to a staging area for the Knights of King Arthur parade.  It was at this time, about 2:50 a.m., that he was struck by a 2002 Ford Explorer driven by Michael Burrle near Lapalco Boulevard and Paxton Street in Harvey.  The impact caused the tractor to roll approximately 70 feet and flung Dauzat from it, resulting in severe injuries to his skull and brain.  He was transported to a New Orleans hospital but died less than a day later from his injuries.

Burrle was booked on suspicion of DWI and was eventually charged with vehicular homicide to which he plead not guilty.

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