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Bouton v. Allstate Insurance Company

491 So. 2d 56 (1986)

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Bouton v. Allstate Insurance Company

Court of Appeal of Louisiana

491 So. 2d 56 (1986)

Facts

Jeffrey Trammel, aged 15, Robert Landry, Jr., aged 13, and Daniel Breaux, aged 13, went trick-or-treating on Halloween in the early evening. The three boys approached the home belonging to Robert Bouton (plaintiff), and Breaux rang the front doorbell. Bouton opened the door and saw Breaux dressed in military attire and holding a plastic model machine gun. Bouton immediately shut the door, locked it, retrieved a handgun and opened the door again to see a flash of light, later determined to have been emitted from Trammel’s camera flash. Bouton fired his weapon at Breaux, killing him. Bouton was criminally indicted and tried for second-degree murder on two occasions. Bouton was ultimately acquitted of the crime. Subsequently, Bouton filed a civil action against Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate) (defendant), insurer of Breaux and Trammel and Independent Fire Insurance Company (defendant), insurer of Trammel. Bouton alleged that the boys’ actions amounted to an assault, resulting in his being wrongfully charged with a crime, incurring significant attorneys’ fees, and receiving negative publicity. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion, and Bouton appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Shortess, J.)

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