Gaunt v. Progressive Sec. Ins. Co.

Mr. Ryan enrolled as appellate counsel after a district judge found U-Haul to be 90% at fault for an accident and entered judgment against U-Haul for $1,795,100. The case involved Mr. Omar Erazo’s F-150 pickup truck, which detached from a U-Haul auto transport and rolled free on Interstate 10 before it was struck by James Gaunt’s Dodge Ram pickup. Mr. Gaunt was an “eggshell skull” plaintiff, and he alleged shoulder, knee, and spine surgeries as a result of the accident. The evidence showed that Mr. Erazo had noticed the wheel straps coming loose from the F-150 during his trip, but that he “just blew off” U-Haul’s request to bring the vehicle to the nearest U-Haul for inspection and assistance. Despite the challenges presented by Louisiana’s “manifest error” standard for review of fact, Mr. Ryan successfully argued that the district court’s allocation of only 10% fault to Erazo was clearly wrong. The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court, raised the fault of Erazo to 50%, and reduced the judgment against U-Haul to $897,550.
Gaunt v. Progressive Sec. Ins. Co., 2011-CA-1094 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/8/2012); 93 So.2d 1250.