The transportation section of Leake & Andersson has been specializing in trucking industry defense for over two decades. We are a team of dedicated and hardworking professionals who share a common purpose: championing the rights of the trucking transportation industry. Based upon our decades of experience defending trucking companies, we are able to impart our wisdom from past experiences so our clients can plan for their future. We aggressively investigate claims and defend drivers, motor carrier and trucking companies, and their insurers. Our practice is varied and includes defense of the following types of claims:
- Personal Injury
- Property damage
- Contract disputes
- Damage to goods and cargo claims
- Regulatory and Administrative matters
- Spills and leaks of hazardous material
We also handle EMERGENCY RESPONSE. We provide emergency and accident response throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. Day or night, someone is on standby and ready to assist with any emergency. The emergency response offered includes fatality, catastrophic injury, alleged hazardous release, and cargo claims. Our transportation team is available at all times (click HERE for our GoTeam contact information). Our ability to depart is usually immediate and our arrival at the scene per distance is estimated as follows:
15 miles 15 to 30 minutes
30 miles 30 to 60 minutes
50 miles 50 to 90 minutes
75 miles 75 to 120 minutes
The Transportation Team
Our attorneys’ character, reliability, and perseverance are nationally recognized. Not only do we represent clients in the trucking transportation industry coast to coast, our attorneys have been recognized as “Super Lawyers,” have served in leadership roles for several key organizations, and are regularly asked to appear as panelists and speakers at transportation conferences. Meet the leaders of the Transportation team:
Lou Bonnaffons, is a principal partner in the firm. Lou began his career in the law representing the Regional Transit Authority, the local bus and streetcar entity in New Orleans. After a short period of time representing the RTA and several insurance companies, several national trucking clients and TPAs began hiring Lou to handle cases throughout the state of Louisiana. He has maintained professional and personal relationships for decades for many transportation clients. Lou prides himself on taking a direct, practical and cost effective approach to defending and/or resolving claims via settlement or trial.
Some would say that Vallie Dugas was born to handle trucking transportation litigation, that it’s in her blood. Her father owned Mercedes Benz, Freightliner, and Isuzu truck dealerships, and Vallie and her siblings were groomed to one day assume the helm. Vallie’s first job was scrubbing toilets at the dealership and she worked her way through parts, service, warranty, and the business office. Vallie heard a different calling though and chose to follow in the footsteps of her paternal grandfather, a prominent commerce lawyer.
Vallie attended Loyola University School of Law and the University of Arizona Law School before becoming licensed to practice in 1997. She began her career as a lawyer defending maritime lawsuits. Later, Vallie worked at a respected Plaintiff firm where she prosecuted catastrophic, multi-jurisdictional suits until leaving to start a family. While on maternity leave, Vallie received a most unexpected call; an insurance carrier staff attorney who was Vallie’s former adversary called to offer her a job. He had taken a job as AVP Claims for an insurance holdings company and he desperately needed her to retool the litigation departments for two of the insurance companies.
Vallie’s first priority on the job was to assess the damage. There were thousands and thousands of claims, several which were very old. The company had no oversight of panel counsel, maintained no data on risk exposure, and had no metric on ALAE. In short, it was chaos. Vallie spent the next two years managing panel counsel, re-staffing the litigated claims department, drafting a process for efficient claims handling, and whittling down thousands of opened reserves. She persevered and was successful, but she missed being in the trenches of litigation and heard the call of the courtroom.
Vallie’s past work experience complimented the firm’s transportation team and she joined the firm in 2014. During her tenure, she has litigated claims for trucking transportation and logistics companies. She is licensed in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Craig Cousins, also a principal partner, worked initially for a local judge and later for a firm that specialized in corporate reorganization, that is until he found his home at L&A. He joined the firm almost twenty years ago and worked to build the transportation practice. During that time, Craig has handled almost exclusively casualty and trucking cases. He has had the pleasure to serve many notable and significant clients, including Great West Casualty Company and AutoZone to name a few. He has received local and regional recognition for what he brings to the table, most recently receiving the 2016 “Extra Miler” award from his client AutoZone.
Craig presents as soft spoken, preferring to build his rapport with clients, counsel and others by fostering a genuine relationship. Beneath the surface, Craig is the architect of a bigger plan. He is contemplative and thoughtful. He uses all of these skills to bring about a fair resolution to the matter while effectively communicating to the client the factors to be considered.