New Orleans, Mardi Gras, Beads… and Injuries

Another Mardi Gras has just come and gone. Hundreds of thousands of revelers descended on New Orleans to partake of the pageantry and festivity. Mardi Gras inevitably comes with some risk of injury. Certainly, there are things that the government, the krewes, and the revelers themselves can do to keep everyone safe, but injuries sometimes happen anyway. With that in mind, a Louisiana Court of Appeal decision from last spring offers some helpful insight into what the law can (and cannot) do for you if you’ve been injured during Mardi Gras.

The spectator in the case was Rose Ann Citron, who sued the Krewe of Endymion for injuries she suffered at the 2012 Endymion Extravaganza. (The extravaganza is an invitation-only continuation of the Endymion Parade that usually is held inside the Superdome.) The krewe throws beads to spectators below during both the parade and the subsequent extravaganza. Citron, whose husband was aboard an Endymion float, was struck in the head by a bag of beads. The impact knocked her unconscious. She suffered a concussion along with injuries to her eyes, nose, and mouth.

Citron’s negligence lawsuit was unsuccessful, however. The krewe asked the court to issue a summary judgment in its favor. Citron could not succeed, the krewe argued, since the krewe was covered by the Mardi Gras immunity statute. That statute makes Mardi Gras krewes immune from civil suit unless the victim’s injuries were “caused by the deliberate and wanton act or gross negligence of the krewe or organization, or any member thereof as the case may be.” The trial court agreed and issued the summary judgment.

On appeal, Citron attempted to argue that her injuries were the result of a “wanton act or gross negligence” and that the trial court should have allowed her case to proceed. Citron argued that her case was like a 2010 case in which a woman sued a member of the Krewe of Zulu after he struck her in the head with a coconut. That 2010 case was somewhat different because that woman’s action, which was originally against both the member and the krewe, proceeded only against the individual member. The case was thrown out against the krewe, based upon the statute.

The immunity statute was enacted by the legislature to “demonstrate[] a public policy opposed to unduly extending the reasonably prudent standard of care to risks over which the organization has little or no control and which are not easily associated with a breach of the standard of care.” Throwing beads amounts to just such a risk. The “wanton act or gross negligence” exception was designed to cover only “extreme and unusual circumstances.” Each year, the Krewe of Endymion throws hundreds of bags of beads to spectators during its parade and during its extravaganza. Being hit in the head by a bag of thrown beads was neither extreme nor unusual in the court’s opinion. Previous rulings determined that krewes were not liable for injuries incurred as a result of thrown beads, even if the krewe member threw the beads in an overhand fashion, much like what a baseball player uses.

Mardi Gras injuries, as with any other type of accident, require a careful knowledge of the law in order to understand if you have a case and, if so, how to maximize your chances of recovery. For answers to your personal injury questions, contact the skilled Louisiana premises liability attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients with a variety of personal injury issues.

For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.

More Blog Posts:

Refusing Chemical Blood-Alcohol Tests and Your Louisiana Driver’s License, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Nov. 30, 2015

Dealing with DWI/DUI in Louisiana During Mardi Gras, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Feb. 19, 2014

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