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Legal Memorandum: Mitigation-of-damages Doctrine in LA

Issue: What facts must be proved in order to establish the defense of the mitigation-of-damages doctrine in Louisiana?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Mitigation-of-damages doctrine; Injured person
Jurisdiction: Federal, Louisiana
Cited Cases: 327 So. 2d 543; 808 So. 2d 852
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2010

Louisiana recognizes the mitigation-of-damages doctrine.  Aultman v. Rinicker, 416 So. 2d 641, 645 (La. App. 2 Cir. 6/15/82).

Th[e] doctrine [of mitigation of damages] imposes on the injured person a duty to exercise reasonable diligence and ordinary care in attempting to minimize his damages after the injury has been inflicted.  The care and diligence required of him is the same as that which would be used by a man of ordinary prudence under like circumstances.  He need not make extraordinary efforts or do what is unreasonable or impractical in his efforts to minimize the damages, but his efforts to minimize them must be reasonable and in accordance with the rules of common sense, good faith and fair dealing.

Id. at 645 (citation omitted).

If a Plaintiff failed to mitigate damages by obtaining other employment, which under Louisiana law is his duty, any damages awarded will likely be offset.  See State ex rel. Harden v. S. Baptist Hosp., 94-2228 (La. App. 4 Cir. 10/12/95), 663 So. 2d 443 (reversing award of lost past and future wages because the plaintiff failed to mitigate his damages).  See also Motton v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 2003-0962, p. 25 (La. App. 4 Cir. 3/2/05), 900 So. 2d 901, 919 (affirming the trial court’s denial of any front pay award because the plaintiff refused to accept another position). Cf. Williams v. Rubicon, Inc., 2001-0074, at *7 (La. App. 1 Cir. 2/15/02), 808 So. 2d 852, 859-60 (affirming trial […]

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