Hixson Funeral Home v. State


Court: Court of Appeal of Louisiana. First Circuit

No. 2979.

Date published: Feb 2, 1948


  • The lawsuit was authorized by Act 252 of 1946.
  • It involves damages to an automobile ambulance resulting from an accident on August 10, 1945, on U.S. Highway No. 171 near Moss Bluff Bridge.
  • The ambulance was transporting a patient when a gate, used to stop traffic when the bridge is opened, was lowered onto the ambulance, causing damage.
  • The ambulance owners, Hixson Funeral Home, sued the Department of Highways of the State of Louisiana, claiming negligence on the part of the bridge tender for improperly lowering the gate.
  • The defense claims the accident was caused by the negligence of the ambulance driver.


  • The main issue is whether the Department of Highways was negligent in lowering the gate, causing damage to the ambulance, or if the accident was solely due to the negligence of the ambulance driver.
  • Another issue is whether the plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages from the state for the negligence alleged.


  • The trial court found in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding damages for the repairs to the ambulance.
  • The court rejected the defense’s argument that the accident was caused by the negligence of the ambulance driver.
  • The court also ruled that legal interest attaches to judgments for damages against the state, as provided by Act 206 of 1916.
  • However, the court modified the judgment to exempt the state from paying court costs other than the stenographer’s costs for taking testimony, as per Act 135 of 1936.
  • The court upheld the judgment directing the Department of Highways to pay the damages out of its General Highway Maintenance Fund or other lawful funds, as authorized by Act 252 of 1946.

In summary, the plaintiffs prevailed in their claim for damages against the Department of Highways, and the court affirmed the judgment, with modifications regarding court costs.

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