MCI Communications Services, Inc. v. HaganAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court accepted a certified question from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of appeals in "MCI Communications Services, Inc. v. Hagan" (641 F.3d 112 (5th Cir. 2011)): "[i]s the proposed jury instruction in this case, which state[d] that '(a) Defendant may be held liable for an inadvertent trespass resulting from an intentional act,' a correct statement of Louisiana law when the trespass at issue is the severing of an underground cable located on property owned by one of the alleged trespass[e]rs, and the property is not subject to a servitude by the owners of the underground cable but only to the contractual right to keep it, as an existing cable, underneath the property?" MCI alleged that co-Defendant James Joubert negligently excavated with a backhoe in violation of the Louisiana Damage Prevention Act. MCI alleged Defendant Wayne Hagan was vicariously liable because Joubert was acting as his agent at the time. The underground cable at issue was buried under land owned by Hagan. After a trial in the federal district court, a jury found for Hagan and Joubert. MCI appealed to the Fifth Circuit. Upon review of the issue presented by the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court answered the certified question in the negative: the proposed jury instruction in this case was not a correct statement of Louisiana law.