Court of Appeal Affirms Zero Verdict from New Orleans Jury

Virgil Lacy and Alexis Caughey secured a hard fought trial court victory in favor of the defense in a opinion issued by the Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal on June 24, 2015.  Plaintiffs had appealed the zero verdict obtained by Mr. Lacy after a 2014 jury trial in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.  At trial, the plaintiff property owners claimed the defendant, an Orleans Parish church, was liable for for property damages and lost business income alleged to be in excess of $1,500,000 due to a January 2011fire that destroyed the church and damaged the surrounding businesses.  After a five day jury trial, a verdict was returned finding that the defendants were not liable for the fire that destroyed the church and damaged plaintiffs’ property.  Extensive post-trial motions were filed in the trial court, all of which were defeated.  In their  appeal, plaintiffs claimed that the jury’s verdict was not supported by the evidence adduced at trial, that the trial court erred in instructing the jury, and that evidence discovered after trial warranted a new trial.  The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous opinion, affirmed the jury verdict and the post-trial rulings in favor of the defense in the trial court, thereby rejecting the plaintiffs claims for appellate relief in their entirety.