Louisiana Supreme Court weighs in on mobile home manufacturer's liability.
by Fred A. Pharis, J. D.
In a case decided in February, 2008, the Louisiana Supreme Court reaffirmed that a manufactured home manufacturer is still liable to buy back a home where substantial manufacturing defects exist even when other causes, such as poor set up and installation, contributed to the plaintiffs' overall dissatisfaction with the home. In Aucoin v. Southern Energy Homes, the Louisiana Supreme Court pretermitted the issue of the propriety of comparative negligence in redhibition cases, where the manufacturer had significant responsibility for the problems the plaintiff suffered. The court also confirmed that general damages are available in such cases but that the plaintiff must show the manufacturer knew or should have known of that the failure of the home would cause plaintiff general damages. Because such evidence was not presented, the general damages award was struck down.
Despite the defense community wanting the Supreme Court to compare the negligence of the various parties, claiming that pure comparative negligence was mandated by recent legislative changes to tort law statutes located in Louisiana's Civil Code, the Supreme Court determined that in this particular case the remedy of a rescission of the sale was proper against the manufacturer without visiting the issue.
In my opinion, the Louisiana law of redhibition is not "fault based" and should not have concepts such as comparative negligence muddy the waters in an area where clear legal concepts have developed over two hundred years.
Fred A. Pharis*Pharis Law Offices*831 DeSoto St.*Alexandria, LA 71301*(318) 445-8266
Copyright: Fred A. Pharis, Pharis Law Offices, 2008