Housekeeper's trial against employer reset for March

David Yates Dec. 11, 2007, 7:56am

Charles Gordon Reed

It seems the Christmas break came early for a few Jefferson County lawyers as the second civil trial this week was put on hold and reset for March.

The trial of Gloria Landry vs. R.F. DuBois Jr. was supposed to begin Tuesday, Dec. 11, in Judge Bob Wortham's 58th District Court.

Landry, who worked as a housekeeper for DuBois for nearly two decades, sued him back in 2006 after she tripped while taking out the trash.

For 18 years Landry managed to avoid tripping over any cracks running through DuBois' concrete driveway until June 8, 2005. In her suit, Landry says her part-time employer was negligent for "failing to maintain his property…and warn her of the dangerous condition."

However, an approved motion in limine will prohibit DuBois and his lawyer from using the "no-duty doctrine" and mentioning that Landry was well aware of the condition of the driveway and failed to use caution while taking out the trash.

According to Landry's third amended petition, DuBois allowed his driveway to deteriorate. "It is cracked and has moved. These cracks are presently allowing a two-inch height variance in parts of the driveway."

While taking the garbage to the street, Landry tripped on the concrete crack. She fell forward on her face, sustaining bruises both above and below the eye and on her chin, and bruised her leg, the suit said.

Landry returned to the house with a bloody knee. The suit said DuBois' wife treated her knee wounds with peroxide. Bandaged and ready to go, Landry then left for her afternoon job, the suit said, adding that Landry's knee required periodic attention throughout the day.

"Landry continued to attempt to work at her various places of employment because she needed the wages," the suit said. "It became extremely difficult. The pain caused by the injuries of June 8, 2005, increased."

Landry went to Christus St. Elizabeth Minor Care Center on the evening of June 23, 2005, where she was treated. X-rays of the upper part of her body revealed badly bruised ribs. An MRT also showed a tear in Landry's knee tendons. She underwent surgery at the Beaumont Bone and Joint Clinic on Oct. 17, 2005, and was not able to return to work until Jan. 16, 2006, the suit said.

"Landry was an employee of DuBois," the suit said. "DuBois controlled the days she worked, her duties, and supplied the tools she used. Landry was injured in the course and scope of her employment with DuBois. DuBois does not carry workers compensation insurance coverage."

When the trial resumes in March, Landry and her attorney Charles Gordon Reed will ask jurors to award her actual and exemplary damages for her injury.

Dubois is represented by attorney John West of the Pate & Spivey law firm.

Case No. A-176-597

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