If you have a claim due to damage suffered in Hurricane Isaac for which you need professional legal assistance, please call Lawrence & Associates at 985-674-4446.

Contact Us for More Information >


Our firm is pleased to announce that in early 2013 John S. Lawrence, Jr. and David P. Curlin were awarded the prestigious “Bullseye Barrister” award from Target Corporation. The “Bullseye Barrister” award is given to the top performing law firm in the United States each quarter for work performed in defense of Target Corporation litigation. The award factors in the results obtained for Target Corporation, the timeliness of resolution, and the overall costs involved with the claims. The write up at Target,which was delivered to firms and claims handlers across the country was as follows:

Bullseye Barrister:

John S. Lawrence Jr.

Lawrence & Associates

Mandeville, Louisiana

John is the managing partner at Lawrence & Associates in Mandeville, LA. John practices primarily in the areas of premises liability, construction defect and general business litigation. He has been representing Target for over 20 years. David Curlin began assisting him with the Target litigation about eight years ago and he and John work very closely in the handling of each Target suit.

John and his team were selected as the Bullseye Barrister for securing four Motions for Summary Judgment victories in recent months, a Dismissal with Prejudice on a large exposure matter and as recognition for exceeding expectations on his attorney scorecard results.

This is John’s first award as a Barrister for Target in recognition of outstanding results.

Some favorable 2012/2013 case results for the last quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013 include:

Case:                         Assault by an off duty employee before reporting for work.

Damages:            Severe trauma to two women requiring hospitalization

Counsel:                    John Lawrence/David Curlin

State:                         LA

Result:                       MSJ victory

Facts: Plaintiffs were assaulted and beaten severely in the client’s parking lot by an employee of the client moments before that employee was scheduled to report to work. The assault reportedly occurred because the employee was upset after the slow driving habits of one of the Plaintiffs. The parking lot security camera revealed that this was a brutal assault. The video showed Plaintiffs’ vehicle pulling up and backing into a parking spot near the store entrance. While Plaintiffs were backing in, the employee waited for some time for Plaintiffs to complete the parking. The employee then pulled into an adjacent spot. When the first Plaintiff exited her car, the employee went directly to the Plaintiff and punched her, knocking her to the ground in one hit. The passenger Plaintiff then exited and the employee went to her, punching her a number of times, before she fell to the ground. While on the ground, the employee continued to kick and punch this Plaintiff. After the assault the employee left the location without clocking in and was terminated. The employee was still in his probationary period. There were no indications or events during his employment that raised any questions to indicate that he would act in this fashion. Plaintiffs brought suit against the assailant’s employer alleging that it was vicariously liable for the actions of the employee, and/or that it failed to provide Plaintiffs with a reasonably safe place to shop. Plaintiffs’ alleged that the employer was responsible for the assault as the employee was only moments from clocking in and that the employer negligently provided security because its security personal were not in the area at the time of the assault.

Basis: With regard to the vicarious liability claim, the employer argued that Plaintiffs could not meet a number of the factors required to hold an employer liable for employee’s violent tortious act. Specifically Plaintiffs could not show that 1) the assault occurred during the employee’s hours of employment; 2) the assault was not prohibited by company policy, a policy acknowledged by the employee when he was hired; 3) there was a connection between the employee’s duties as an over night stocker to the assault committed based on the driving habits of plaintiffs; and 4) that the violence was incidental to any of the employee’s duties, as opposed to purely personal actions. Regarding Plaintiffs claims that the Defendant did not provide a reasonable safe place to shop, the employer argued that its general duty of reasonable care does not extend to protecting patrons from the unanticipated criminal acts of third parties unless the Defendant had knowledge of, or could be imputed with knowledge of, the third party's intended conduct. As the employee’s actions were not reasonably foreseeable to it, the employer did not have a duty to protect Plaintiffs from the employee’s assault.

Ruling: The trial Court’s ruling denying the employer’s Motion for Summary Judgment was reversed on appeal and all claims against it were dismissed with prejudice.

Case:                           Slip and fall on a liquid substance dropped by a guest

Damages: Back and knee injuries

Counsel:                     John Lawrence/David Curlin                       

State:                           LA

Result:                        MSJ victory

Facts: In this slip and fall matter, over an hour of surveillance video was saved by the location. The video revealed that a female guest was shopping on the aisle adjacent to the aisle of plaintiff’s fall. Although not clear, it appeared that this guest dropped product on the floor and then placed same into her cart. She continued shopping, moving her basket in a path onto the next aisle where she stops and shops. Several minutes this guest was located with her basket at the eventual area of Plaintiff’s fall. She leaves and Plaintiff enters the camera view. After shopping for several more minutes, Plaintiff falls to the ground. Subsequently, the video shows the spill area of the fall being cleaned by team members and further reveals additional clean up on the original aisle where the first guest appeared to have dropped product, and later along her path from that aisle to the spill location. Plaintiff argued that the merchant had constructive notice due to the length the substance was on the floor as shown by the video and alternatively that the merchant had actual notice of the substance by way of the video monitoring system.

Basis: Defendant argued that Plaintiff could not meet her burden of proof under the Louisiana Merchant Liability Statute to show that substance existed for a time period that the Defendant knew or should have known of the spill. The Defendant further argued that the video provided the best evidence that the spill did not exist for a long enough length of time to place the merchant on constructive notice of its existence.

Ruling: Summary Judgment was granted in favor of the Defendant. The Court ruled that video provided the best evidence that the spill was created by the first guest based upon her path and subsequent clean up by team members. The Court further ruled that the Defendant did not have a duty to monitor in real time surveillance video.

Case:                          Slip and fall in store by a child

Damages:                  Fractured femur

Counsel:                    John Lawrence/David Curlin

State:                         LA

Result:                      MSJ victory

Facts: Plaintiffs were shopping with their 22 month old son at Defendant’s store. The father separated from his wife taking the minor child to the aisle containing Gatorade products. Upon reaching the Gatorade product, plaintiff turned to face same and bent down to make a selection. As he did so, he heard his son crying. As he turned back, he saw his son on the ground in spilt leg position and it was later determined that the minor child suffered a broken leg. The father immediately went to his son’s aid and brought him to another part of the store to locate his wife. The father never saw any substance on the floor before or after the fall which might have caused same. Shortly thereafter, the mother went to aisle of the incident and noticed a half dollar size puddle of a blue substance. She did not notice whether there were any open bottles or containers on the aisle. The next day the father returned to the aisle and there appeared to be a dry substance on the floor with a bluish tint. He videoed himself removing a portion of the dry substance. The father returned to the location one month later and videoed the same bluish tint on the floor and then returned several months later and videoed dirty shopping cart marks on the aisle.

Basis: Defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that Plaintiffs could not meet their burden of proof under the Louisiana Merchant Liability Statute to show that any substance existed for a time period that showed it knew or should have known of the existence of same. The Defendant first argued that plaintiff could not prove that a substance existed that caused the fall as the father never saw any actual substance when he went to his child’s aid. Second, the Defendant argued that the mother’s testimony of an undisturbed half dollar size blue substance did not support any evidence that same was the cause of the fall. Alternatively, the Defendant argued that if any issue of fact existed as to that substance causing the fall, Plaintiffs could not prove that the substance existed for a length of time that the Defendant should have known of its existence. In response Plaintiffs argued that the videos taken of the bluish tint the next day, and one month later, combined with the video of shopping cart marks on another occasion created an issue of fact.

Ruling: Summary Judgment was granted in favor of the Defendant. The Court accepted the Defendant’s argument that it was pure speculation as to whether the substance testified to by the mother caused the minor child to fall. The court further accepted the Defendant’s argument that even assuming the blue substance caused the fall, Plaintiff’s after the fall videos did not create an issue of fact that it had constructive notice of the condition before the minor’s fall.

Case: Slip and fall in spilled substance

Damages:                  Assorted neck, back and knee injuries

Counsel: John Lawrence/David Curlin

State: LA

Result: MSJ Victory

Facts: Plaintiff’s foot caught the edge of a spilled red drink located between the cash registers and the photo lab at one of Defendant’s store locations. The incident was recorded on the location’s surveillance system showing that a young boy spilled his drink minutes before Plaintiff came into contact with the substance. The video also showed several employees working cash registers in the area, and that one employee passed within 20 feet of the spill while pushing a basket of merchandise before Plaintiff’s incident.

Basis: The Defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that it did not have either constructive or actual notice of the spill to hold it liable under Louisiana’s slip and fall statute. The Defendant argued that there was no proof of actual notice and that the employees in the video were engaged in employment related functions and/or had their views obstructed by the cash registers and/or fixtures. In response, Plaintiff argued that because of the proximity of the employees to the spill they should have either seen the spill or heard it and thus there was a general issue of fact as to notice. Plaintiff further cited a Federal Court decision denying summary judgment on constructive notice where the time between the spill and the fall was similar and two employees were facing the spill when the slip and fall in that case occurred directly in front of the employees.

Ruling: Summary Judgment was granted in favor of the Defendant. The Court rejected any assertions as to actual notice as Plaintiff presented no evidence that any employee knew of the spill prior to the incident. With regard to constructive notice, the Court rejected Plaintiff’s arguments that the proximity of the employees created an issue of fact. The Court endorsed the Defendant’s argument that because the employees were engaged in employment related tasks and/or had their views obstructed, the time frame between spill and incident as shown on the video was not enough time to find a genuine issue of fact as to constructive notice.

Case: Slip and fall in a clear substance

Damages:            Personal physical injuries

Attorneys: John Lawrence/David Curlin

State: LA

Result: MSJ Victory 

Facts: Plaintiff slipped as a result of a clear liquid while walking towards the registers on the main aisle of the location. An employee was reportedly standing 20 feet away from the substance when the incident occurred, and 3-4 other employees were working the cash registers near the substance.

Basis: Defendant moved for Summary Judgment arguing that Plaintiff could not meet her burden of proof at trial to establish that the Defendant had constructive notice of the substance under Louisiana’s slip and fall statute as Plaintiff could not prove how long the spill existed prior to her incident. In response, Plaintiff argued that genuine issues of material facts existed due to the proximity of the one employee 20 feet away, and the presence of the 3-4 cashiers nearby whose job duties required them to be on the lookout for hazards. Plaintiff further attached photographs of the spill area asserting those employees should have had a clear view of the substance.

Ruling: Summary Judgment was granted in favor of the Defendant store owner. First, the Court noted that Plaintiff failed to offer any proof to suggest how long the spill existed prior to her incident. The Court then rejected Plaintiff’s argument that the proximity of the employees created a genuine issue of fact as to notice because Plaintiff failed to offer any evidence that those employees knew of the spill. The Court also ruled that Plaintiff’s photos did not create an issue of fact as the photos only showed the spill area, and did not show the alleged views that any employees may have had from their positions at the time of the incident.

Case:                         Microwave fell from top shelf and struck gusts shopping cart

Damages:                 Cervical Surgery

Counsel:                   John Lawrence/David Curlin

State:                        LA

Result:                      Dismissal

Facts: Plaintiff alleged cervical injuries and resulting surgery from an incident where the front end of her basket was struck by a microwave mishandled by an employee on the adjacent aisle. By way of a subpoena to her health insurer, it was learned that Plaintiff had a history of prior cervical treatment and claims for disability when she resided in California for a number of years prior to her relocation to Louisiana. Plaintiff had failed to disclose those claims and treatment in her discovery responses or during her deposition. Additionally discovery was sent to Plaintiff requesting completion of medical authorizations to the heath care providers identified in her insurance records, including several mental health professionals. Plaintiff objected to signing the medical authorizations, and a Motion to Compel was filed. On the eve of the hearing on the Motion to Compel, Plaintiff’s counsel filed a Motion to Withdraw as attorney for Plaintiff. Plaintiff failed to obtain new counsel and was ordered to attend several hearings and was eventually ordered to sign the authorizations. Plaintiff failed on several occasions within deadlines established by the Court to return any signed authorizations. As a result, the Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss all claims for Plaintiff’s failure to comply with orders of the Court, and requested an award of attorney’s fees and costs.

Basis: The Defendant argued that Plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed as she failed to attend several hearings and status conferences as ordered by the Court and that she failed to provide the signed authorizations despite several orders to do so. The Defendant noted that Plaintiff’s failure to comply with any orders of the Court had been ongoing for over nine months, and that Plaintiff failed to give any indication that she would ever comply with any subsequent order on the outstanding issues. Finally, the Defendant noted the increased costs and attorney’s fees caused by the failure of Plaintiff to disclose the information, the costs of petitioning the state court in California for subpoenas, and the costs of attendance of the Defendant at the hearings plaintiff failed to attend. Ruling: All claims against the Defendant were dismissed with prejudice, and the Defendant was awarded attorney’s fees and costs in connection with its several Motions to Compel and Motion to Dismiss.

Case: Trip over a bicycle in the entrance to client’s store.

 Damages: Assorted injuries including the worsening of Plaintiff’s Parkinson’s

Counsel: John Lawrence/David Curlin

State:                     LA

Result:       Settlement on Day 1 of Trial disease

Facts: Lawrence and Associates went to trial in Federal Court in defense of an interesting premises liability personal injury claim. The Plaintiff was entering the Defendant’s store when he tripped over a bicycle left by another guest of the store near the entrance to the store. The interesting part of the case involved Plaintiff’s allegations that the worsening of his Parkinson ’s disease was caused by the trauma from the fall. After selecting a jury and preparing to deliver opening statements, Plaintiff’s asked if Defendant’s settlement offer presented months earlier was still available. It was and the case settled before opening statements for an amount that was one tenth of Plaintiff’s demand before trial.The practice of Lawrence and Associates it not just limited to premise liability. We are a full service law firm that can handle all types of civil litigation, including contract disputes, corporation formation, business litigation, property issues, and other legal document drafting. In addition, Lawrence and Associates maintains an active estate planning and litigation practice that includes, but is not limited to the drafting of wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents, succession proceedings, and estate litigation. Some recent cases in these areas include:

Case: Commercial lease dispute involving hazardous waste materials

Damages:            Monetary

Attorneys: John Lawrence

State: LA

Result: Verdict in favor of Defendant/Directed Verdict  

Facts: Additional successes of Lawrence & Associates included: In January of 2013 Lawrence & Associates obtained great results at trial for a client in a very large and complex commercial lease dispute involving hazardous waste remediation, among other alleged damages. This was a Judge trial as it involved complex legal issues pertaining to commercial real estate.

Results: During the trial L&A obtained a directed verdict as to Plaintiff’s claims under the Louisiana Hazardous Substances Remediation Act La. R.S. 30:2271 et seq. The court agreed that Plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proof and dismissed those claims outright at the close of Plaintiff’s case. In addition, during trial, Lawrence & Associates was successful in striking one of Plaintiff’s expert witnesses and totally minimizing another’s testimony. After the full trial on the merits, the court dismissed ALL of Plaintiff’s claims at their cost and expense and rendered a defense verdict for Lawrence & Associates’ client.