Skip to Navigation
The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

VESICH v. ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY et al

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
2:12-cv-01129 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
Rita Vesich
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Eastern District of Louisiana
Date Filed: 
May 2 2012

"1. Made defendants herein are:

1. Ace American Insurance Company, a foreign insurer authorized to do and actually doing business in New Orleans, Louisiana, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.
2. Hilton Riverside, L.L.C, also known as and/or doing business as Hilton NeM Orleans Riverside and Riverside Parking (hereinafter collectively the Hilton a foreign corporation authorized to and doing business in the State of Louisiana having its principal business establishment at 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans Louisiana, and its registered office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
3. Hilton Worldwide, Inc. (hereinafter collectively the Hilton), a foreign corporatior authorized to and doing business in the State of Louisiana having its principa business establishment at 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, and its registered office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
4. International Rivercenter Lessee, L.L.C. (hereinafter collectively the Hilton), i foreign corporation authorized to and doing business in the State of Louisiana having its business establishment at 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, and its registered office in New Orleans, Louisiana.
5. Hilton Management, L-L.C. (hereinafter collectively the Hilton), a foreigr corporation authorized to and doing business in the State of Louisiana having it; principal business establishment at 320 Somerulos Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and its registered office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
6, Hilton New Orleans, L.L-C (hereinafter collectively the Hilton), a foreigr corporation authorized to and doing business in the State of Louisiana having it: principal business establishment at 320 Somerulos Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and its registered office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

2. Jurisdiction and Venue are proper pursuant to the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Articles 6,42,73,74 and 76 and Louisiana Revised Statutes 22:1269, and Louisiana Revised Statut 22:1295.

3. Said defendants are justly and truly indebted jointly, severally, and solidarity unto th plaintiff, Rita Vesich, in amounts to be determined by this Honorable Court, plus legal interes thereon from date of judicial demand until paid, for costs of these proceedings, and for the fbllowuij to wit:

4. On Saturday, March 26, 2011 the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, and Anne ZoUer Kiefer wen attending an event at the Hilton Riverside Hotel, also known as and doing business as Hilton Nev Orleans Riverside and Riverside Parking ("the Hilton") located at 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans Louisiana 70140. Anne ZoUer Kiefer, who was driving, picked up the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, and th< two ladies proceeded to the Hilton Hotel, and specifically to the Hilton valet parking area.

5. Anne ZoUer Kiefer, requested assistance from the Hilton valet parking employee or attendant! for the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, who walks with a cane. The Hilton valet parking attendant advisee Anne Zoller Kiefer that the valet parking was full and that valet parking could not accommodate them. The Hilton valet parking employee instructed Anne Zoller Kiefer to proceed to the Hilton's Riverside Parking lot. As instructed, on the said date and time, Anne Zoller Kiefer and the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, then proceeded to the Hilton's Riverside Parking garage. Anne Zoller Kiefer pressed the button foi assistance multiple times and waited for assistance; without success. Anne Zoller Kiefer entered the Hilton's Riverside Parking garage and proceeded to the nearest parking available. Anne Zoller Kiefer and Rita Vesich exited the car and took the elevator to the lowest floor.

7. Upon existing the elevator, there are steps to descend to reach the ground floor. There is a flight of steps, that has handrails; however the handrail on the left descending side of the stairs ends before the flight of steps end. Approximately four feet from the bottom flight step or riser, there i: an isolated, single riser step, with no handrail, and which is not a ramp.

8. Anne Zoller Kiefer walked first down the steps with the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, followinf Anne Zoller Kiefer. After taking a couple of steps, Anne Zoller Kiefer nearly missed the isolated single riser step and almost tripped, at the unexpected and unanticipated step down, which had nc handrail. Anne Zoller Kiefer reached out her arm to warn the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, who was closel] following Anne Zoller Kiefer. However, the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, already started to trip on the single step, isolated from the main stairway, and she tumbled over the step, falling into the oncominj traffic lane of the parking garage, where vehicular .traffic was present, which resulted in the injuries hereinafter described.

9. At all times relevant herein, the property in question and its parking garage was under the ownership, care, custody, and control of the Hilton. As the owner and custodian, the Hilton was the party responsible for the maintenance, management, care, upkeep, and repair of its subject premises and its parking garage.

10. The incident hereinabove described occurred without fault of the plaintiff, Rita Vesich. A1 all times pertinent hereto, the subject parking premises and parking garage werexmaintained in a dangerous, unsafe, hazardous and negligent manner, as contemplated and within the meaning ol Louisiana Civil Code Articles 660, 2315,2317,2317.1, and 23 22, and under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.

III. At all times' pertinent hereto, the unsafe and hazardous condition of the premises and the parking garage, including, but not limited to its handrails, railings, stairs, risers, lighting, and surrounding conditions, constituted adefect within the meaningof the Louisiana Civil Code Articles 660, 2315,2317, 2317.1 and 2322.

12. At all times pertinent hereto, the Hilton had actual knowledge, constructive knowledge, and notice that there were obvious problems, defects and deficiencies in the subject premises and parking garage, including particularly, but not exclusively, with its handrails, railings, stairs, risers, lighting, and surrounding conditions.

13. The negligent acts of omission and commission on the part of the Hilton, in addition to thoss hereinabove mentioned, include particularly, but not exclusively, the following:
a) In owning, maintaining, managing and/or controlling its premises, its parking garage its handrails, railings, stairs, risers, lighting, and surrounding conditions, in i hazardous, dangerous, defective and negligent manner, which endangered anc presented a serious risk of bodily harm to its patrons, visitors, guests and/or invitees;
b) In failing to inform, caution and protect its patrons, visitors, guests and/or invitees of existing dangerous conditions and to prevent such an incident as described above
c) In failing to exercise reasonable care and to take appropriate measures anc precautions that could have eliminated the dangers and serious risk of bodily ham from occurring on its property, or otherwise to protect individuals, especially it; patrons, visitors, guests and/or invitees, such as the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, fron known and foreseeable harm and injury on the premises;
d) In failing to ascertain problems and administer proper maintenance to its premises its parking garage, its handrails, railings, stairs, risers, lighting and surrounding conditions;
e) In failing to provide sufficiently safe premises and stairs, with no alternative route o: exit, for its patrons, guests, visitors and/or invitees, such as that encountered by th< plaintiff, Rita Vesich, who was walking with a cane.
f) In allowing violations to exist and in failing to adhere to the International Building Code, the Standard Building Code, any other applicable Building or other governini Codes, including the Life Safety Code, and the applicable Americans witl Disabilities Act ("ADA") of 1990 and the United States Department of Justice (DO J Attorney General requirements and guidelines, set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 1201, et seq regarding it premises, its parking garage, its handrails, railings, stairs, risers, lighting and surrounding conditions;
g) In violating applicable Building Code Regulations and/or Safety Codes, by allowing the concrete stairs, treads and risers, to violate the minimum dimension; requirements, and particularly the depth requirements that the tread or horizonta portion of each step is less than that allowed by International Building Code; whicl limits the depth for a persons foot to fit on the tread and which results in a person'; foot having less area to make contact on the way up or down the stairs.
h) In allowing the outdoor parking garage concrete stairs and surroundings to b< designed and to exist in a condition that allows water to accumulate on or around the stairs, including from outside factors and by cars that traverse in the pedestriar crossing, which creates a hazardous.
i) In violating applicable Building Code Regulations and/or Safety Codes, including the requirements that any change in elevation less than 12 inches shall be by means o: a sloped walking surface or a ramp, with handrails; not a step, without handrails.
j) In failing to comply with the applicable Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"; of 1990 and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney Genera requirements and guidelines, by allowing to exist a single step, isolated from the main stairway, without required handrails or handrail extensions; which isolated single step caused a hazard and was not appropriately marked.
k) In failing to comply with the applicable Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA" of 1990, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney Genera requirements and guidelines, and the governing Building and/or Safety Codes, b allowing the handrails and handrail extensions on either side of the flight of stairs c the stair run to exist in an sufficient state, which handrails or handrail extensions ar less than the minimum height requirements above the nosing of the treads and at leas one tread depth past the bottom riser.
l) In violating applicable Building Code Replations and/or Safety Codes, by n< handrail existing at the single 6" riser, where the plaintiff, Rita Vesich. tripped an fell.
m) In failing to comply with the applicable Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA" of 1990, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney Genera requirements and guidelines, and the governing Building Code Regulations and/o Safety Codes, by allowing the single, isolated step without a handrail to exist am drop off onto the traffic lane of the garage, without detectable warnings or bump& surfaces for transitions in sidewalks; instead of having a ramp with a handrail, give: the proximity to the preceding flight of steps.
n) In allowing he stairwell, to exist in an improperly illuminated, impartiall; illuminated, and improperly maintained state.
o) Any and all other acts of negligence which may be proven at trial, of this matter; all of which acts of omission and commission are in violation of the dictates of common sense, th laws and ordinances of the Parish of Orleans, the State of Louisiana, any applicable federal law; an< any applicable and governing Building Codes and other applicable codes, which are incorporate! herein as if expressly pled in externa, including, but act limited to; (1) the International Buildins Code. International Code Council; (2) the Standard Building Code, also know as the Southen Building Code, promulgated by the Southern Building Congress; (3) the 2010 Americans witi Disabilities (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. September 15,2010, United States Departmen of Justice, promulgated in 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et. seq; and/or (4) the Official Manual of the Offic of State Fire Marshal, the Life Safety Code, promulgated by the National Fire Protectioi Association.

14. At all times pertinent hereto, the defendant, Ace American Insurance Company, had in fill force and effect a policy of liability insurance, covering the aforesaid premises owned by the Hilton protecting the persons, matters and things alleged herein. As such, said insurer is directly liable untc the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 22:1269, et seq. and Louisiana law

15. As a result of the foregoing, the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, was caused to sustained injuries to the ligaments, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, and other soft structures of her head and body, including but not limited to, injuries to her left shoulder, left ankle, left foot, and injuries to the nervous systerr and psyche, as well as emotional and mental distress.

16. As a result of the foregoing, the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, has suffered damages, including, bui not limited to, past and future physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life disability, for which the Defendants herein are liable, jointly, severally, and/or solidarity. The plaintiff, Rita Vesich, has required emergency hospital treatments, she has required continuec medical care and attention; and she has been handicapped in her activities. These conditions have continued to worsen and/orbecome permanent; the full residual and sequelae of her injuries are as yet not fully known, but may be severe; all of which are to her damage, in amounts to be determined by this Honorable Court.

WHEREFORE, the plaintiff, Rita Vesich, prays that the defendants, Hilton Riverside, L.L.C., also known as and/or doing business as Hilton New Orleans Riverside and Riverside Parking, Hilton Worldwide, Inc., International Rivercenter Lessee, L.I.c, Hilton Management.
L.L.C., and Hilton New Orleans, L.L.C., be duly cited to appear and answer this Petition; that aftei all legal delays and due proceedings had, there be judgment herein in favor of plaintiff, Rita Vesich. and against the defendants, Hilton Riverside, L.L.C. also known as and/or doing business as.Hilton New Orleans Riverside and Riverside Parking, Hilton Worldwide, Inc., International Rivercentei Lessee, L.L.C, Hilton Management, L.L.C, and HiltonNew Orleans, L.L.C, jointly, severally and solidarity, in amounts to be determined by this Honorable Court, together with legal interest thereon from date of judicial demand, until paid, for all costs of these proceedings, and for all general and equitable relief."

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

Javascript is required to view this map.