In Citron v. Gentilly Carnival Club, Inc. 2015 WL 1736937 (La. App. 4 Cir. 4/15/15), the Louisiana Fourth Circuit was asked to consider a summary judgment granted in favor of the Endymion Krewe in connection with its 2012 parade. Citing to the Mardi Gras immunity statute LSA-R.S. 9:2796, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment.
In Citron, the plaintiff was rendered unconscious when a full bag of beads was hurled onto her in connection with the “Extravaganza,” an invitation-only event held in connection with the Endymion Krewe’s parade. In her suit, the plaintiff contended that the Krewe was reckless and “grossly negligent” such that immunity should not apply. Further, the plaintiff argued that the Krewe’s practice of allowing masked riders increased the risk of harm.
The Citron Court affirmed the principle that a Mardi Gras krewe is not vicariously liable for its member’s conduct. To impose liability on a krewe, there must be evidence of the krewe’s – as opposed to its member’s – gross negligence.
Through an extensive treatment of the concept of “gross negligence,” the Court distinguished it from ordinary negligence and defined it as an “extreme departure from ordinary care or the want of even scant care.” Citing to earlier decisions, the Court held that the intent of the Mardi Gras immunity statute is to eliminate liability for objects thrown to parade spectators “except in extreme and unusual circumstances.” Under the record made, the Court held that the alleged failure to prevent the throwing of a full bag of beads, even if heavy, did not rise to the high level of conduct necessary to show gross negligence.