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The Louisiana Supreme Court has adopted a duty-risk analysis for assigning tort liability under a negligence theory. This theory requires a plaintiff to establish that (1) the plaintiff suffered an injury; (2) the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff; (3) the duty was breached by the defendant; (4) the conduct in question was the cause-in-fact of the resulting harm; and (5) the risk of harm was within the scope of protection afforded by the duty breached. Whether a defendant owes a plaintiff a duty is a question of law. There is a universal duty on the part of the defendant in negligence cases to use reasonable care so as to avoid injury to another. Louisiana courts elucidate specific duties of care based on consideration of various moral, social, and economic factors, including the fairness of imposing liability; the economic impact on the defendant and on similarly situated parties; the need for an incentive to prevent future harm; the nature of defendant's activity; the potential for an unmanageable flow of litigation; the historical development of precedent; and the direction in which society and its institutions are evolving.
The plaintiff in this personal injury case named as defendants the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization and Mckesson (alleged to be a leader and co-founder of BLM). The plaintiff alleged that he was a police officer and he was ordered to respond to a protest staged and organized by the defendants, that violence accompanied the protest, and the defendants blocked a public highway.
Did the defendant leader fail to exercise reasonable care in conducting his demonstration?
The defendant leader's actions, in provoking a confrontation with the police officers through the commission of a crime (the blocking of a heavily traveled highway), directly in front of police headquarters, with full knowledge that the result of similar actions taken by the organization in other parts of the country resulted in violence and injury not only to citizens but to police, would render the defendant liable for damages for injuries, resulting from these activities, to a police officer compelled to attempt to clear the highway of the obstruction.