La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:2796, which absolves krewes from liability for injuries caused by objects thrown by krewe members to parade spectators, is not applicable to a situation involving neither a member of the krewe nor a parade spectator.
On May 14, 1994, David Belfield, III, the reigning king of Zulu, was operating a fire truck, which he owned, in a parade organized by the Zulu organization. The parade, which was part of Zulu's anniversary celebration, was routed through the Mid-City area of New Orleans, and ended at the krewe's clubhouse on North Broad Street. Mr. Belfield testified that it was very hot, and he was tired of driving the fire truck. He could not enjoy himself because the truck had no power steering, which made it difficult to drive, and because he was concerned about the efficiency of the truck's brakes. Mr. Belfield testified that, for these reasons, he abandoned the official parade route to take a "short cut" to the Zulu headquarters where the anniversary celebration was to continue with a private party for the krewe members and their guests. The brakes malfunctioned and he hit the curb, being thrown fro m the vehicle and landed on a vehicle occupied by the Medine family, and the truck collided with another bus. The injured parties filed an action against the krewe. The krewe argued that it could not be found liable because La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:2796, absolved it from liability. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the krewe.
Does the applicable statute apply to people who were not a part of the parade?
The court reversed and remanded. The court found that § 9:2796 was not applicable, since appellants were not parade spectators or in the vicinity of the official parade route, at the time of the accident. Further, there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether respondent organization was vicariously liable for its leader's negligence, since it was not certain whether the accident occurred in the course and scope of the parade. Thus, the issue could not be disposed of by summary judgment.