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Louisiana Supreme Court Reinforces Proper Procedures In Injury Lawsuits

When filing a personal injury lawsuit in New Orleans, it is important to have a competent and experienced personal injury attorney who understands the procedural requirements in bringing a lawsuit. This fact was recently reinforced in the case of George Igbinoghene and Sebastian Busari v. St. Paul Travelers Ins. Co., where the Louisiana Supreme Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ lawsuit on procedural grounds.

Personal injury plaintiffs are required to notify defendants of an impending suit so that they may respond to the claim against them. The time limit within which to notify a defendant that a lawsuit has been filed – known in Louisiana as “citation and service” – is ninety days from the date the lawsuit is filed in court. The lawsuit does not legally begin until the defendant receives notice because the court does not have jurisdiction over all the parties until this occurs. If citation and service does not occur within ninety days, the defendant may have the case dismissed unless the plaintiff can show good cause for being untimely.

In George Igbinoghene and Sebastian Busari v. St. Paul Travelers Ins. Co., the plaintiffs filed a petition with a lower court in 2007 but failed to request service within ninety days of filing. The plaintiffs were able establish that the defendant was aware of the lawsuit despite not having officially received notice and had, in fact, requested extensions of time to file a response in 2008 and 2009.

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that because the defendant’s 2008 and 2009 requests for extensions occurred outside the ninety day time frame, they were not relevant and did not constitute a written waiver of deadline for citation and service. Moreover, the Court ruled that the fact that the defendant was aware of the lawsuit did not eliminate the need for the proper procedure to be followed. Because the plaintiffs could not demonstrate good cause for having missed the deadline, the Supreme Court dismissed the case.

If you are looking for an experienced personal injury attorney, we would be happy to help you. Please feel free to call at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.