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Louisiana Bill Seeks to Expand Liability Limitation for Mardi Gras Personal Injury Lawsuits

Injured in New Orleans at a Mardi Gras parade? Looks like it will be even harder to seek compensation for your injuries if the Louisiana Senate passes Representative Jeff Arnold’s new bill  (House Bill 902). Arnold’s bill, which has already passed the Louisiana House, would limit the liability of float builders and service providers in civil lawsuits related to Mardi Gras parades. Instead of proving ordinary negligence as you would for standard personal injury lawsuits, your would now need to prove “gross negligence” on the part of the Mardi Gras float builders. Gross negligence is willful and reckless negligence and is much harder to prove than ordinary negligence.

A Mardi Gras Immunity Statute is already in place for Mardi Gras krewes and their members, but currently does not apply to float builders or other service providers. The bill would extend the liability protection to float builders and other workers as well.

The bill was apparently created in response to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by attorney Jonathan Compretta of Jackson, MS against float builder Blaine Kern Studios. Compretta is representing the widow of his brother, who was run over and killed several years ago by an Endymion Krewe float built by Blaine Kern Studios.  Blaine Kern Studios is located in Algiers, which is in Jeff Arnold’s district. (Associated Press article as cited in New Orleans City blog)

If the bill is passed, it should not affect Compretta’s lawsuit but would apply to any suits filed subsequent to date the bill became a law.

Thomas Alonzo

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