Judicial Confessions – In Bennett v. Porter, 2010-1088 (La. App. 3 Cir. 3/9/11), — So.3d —, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the impact of a judicial confession (i.e., any declaration made by a party in a judicial proceeding) in a subsequent legal proceeding. The Court concluded that, under Civil Code Article 1848, an earlier judicial admission does not bind a party in a later proceeding. Although the judicial confession is admissible into evidence in a subsequent proceeding and may be used for purposes of impeachment, it is not conclusive. Furthermore, it does not create a presumption and does not estop the party making the confession, absent a showing of deception or prejudice.
Premises Liability – In Nicholson v. Horseshoe Entertainment, Louisiana Partnership, 46-081 (La. App. 2 Cir. 3/2/11), — So.3d —, the plaintiff alleged that an escalator “jerked” and caused her fall and injury. In affirming summary judgment, the Louisiana Second Circuit faithfully applied Article 2317.1 (concerning defects in things) and found that the plaintiff’s two affidavits which confirmed her version of events were insufficient to create a “material issue of fact.” On appeal, the plaintiff accused the Trial Judge of improperly “weighing” the evidence. However, the Appellate Court found the discussion of a defect irrelevant because the plaintiff possessed no evidence that the defendant knew or should have known of the alleged defect.
Products Liability – In Payne v. Gardner, 2010-2627 (La. 2/18/11), — So.3d —, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld summary judgment where the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the alleged injury resulted from a reasonably anticipated use of the manufacturer’s product under La. R.S. 9:2800.54(A). The suit involved the ill-conceived, but apparently established practice of attempting to “ride” an oil well pump. The case presented serious injuries. In this setting, the Court ruled that a manufacturer’s “knowledge of the potential and actual intentional abuse of its product does not create a question of fact on the question of reasonably anticipated use.” The defendant showed that its pumping unit was manufactured solely for the purpose of extracting oil from the ground. The plaintiff possessed no evidence to the contrary. As such, the Court found that no reasonable person could find that the plaintiff’s use was reasonably anticipated.