Son of Fatally Injured Louisiana Driver Allowed to Sue Tribal Employees for Accident

When someone engages in improper conduct that injures you or a loved one, you’ll need to clear several hurdles to obtain compensation. Sometimes, the specific hurdles in your case may appear extraordinarily challenging or even impossible. Fortunately, though, many cases provide multiple different avenues for securing a verdict and damages award in your favor. With skilled counsel, you may be able to clear what seem like insurmountable obstacles. A case involving a tragic auto accident from Central Louisiana provides an illustration of this point.

A 37-year-old father of one was driving south across Highway 1 when his vehicle was struck head-on by another driver who had crossed the center line. The wreck killed both drivers. The 66-year-old driver who caused the accident was coming from a casino after the casino staff had thrown out the very intoxicated patron, escorting him to his vehicle. The man’s subsequent drive lasted less than five miles before it ended in the fatal collision.
The son of the younger man sued the estate of the at-fault driver, as well as his insurer. Later, he added several entities and people associated with the casino to the lawsuit for their deceased loved one’s fatal injuries.
Depending on the details of their case, the plaintiff might have chosen to sue the business involved in the events leading up to the injury in question. In this case, this plaintiff did not have that option. The casino where the at-fault driver drank was owned by the Biloxi-Tunica Tribe, so the casino itself was entitled to tribal sovereign immunity and therefore not required to stand trial.
In case like this, in which the business is one shielded by immunity law, it might seem hopeless and easy to give up on a case. This case shows that giving up, or assuming you have no case, can be erroneous. Taking his case all the way to the Louisiana Court of Appeal, the son received a favorable ruling that revived his case. The appeals court ruled that, given the facts of this case, while the casino itself was immune, its employees were not. A spring 2017 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in another case, as well as the high court’s refusal to hear an appeal of the Louisiana court’s ruling in this action, cleared the way for the son to go forward. The Supreme Court ruled in Lewis v. Clarke “that, in a suit brought against a tribal employee in his individual capacity, the employee, not the tribe, is the real party in interest and the tribe’s sovereign immunity is not implicated.” This cleared the path not only for the plaintiff in Lewis but also for the plaintiff in this case.
Even if your case may seem especially challenging, it often pays not to give up. Skilled counsel may be able to help find a way to pursue the award of damages you deserve. The experienced Louisiana drunk driving accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm have been helping injured people take on those responsible for the harm they suffered and pursue outcomes that will meet their current and future needs.
For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Case Revived: Injured Louisiana Bicyclist Defeats Driver’s Claim of Statutory Immunity on Appeal, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, May 17, 2017
Tips for Driving in the Rain, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, March 30, 2017

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