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Illes v. State

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 23, 2014

ADRIAN A. ILLES, INDIVIDUALLY
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA, THROUGH THE DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATION, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF THE DIOCESE OF BATON ROUGE AND CATHOLIC MUTUAL GROUP, A/K/A CATHOLIC MUTUAL RELIEF SOCIETY OF AMERICA

Appealed from the 19th Judicial District Court in and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Trial Court No. C620618. Honorable Kay Bates, Judge.

CHARLES V. GIORDANO, ANTHONY J. MILAZZO, JR., METAIRIE, LA AND CHRISTOPHER LEE WHITTINGTON, BATON ROUGE, LA, ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, ADRIAN ILLES.

DANIEL R. ATKINSON, JR., JOHN W. PERRY, III, BATON ROUGE, LA, ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF THE DIOCESE OF BATON ROUGE AND CATHOLIC MUTUAL GROUP A/K/A CATHOLIC MUTUAL RELIEF SOOETY OF AMERICA.

BEFORE: KUHN, PETTIGREW, AND WELCH, JJ.

OPINION

Page 647

[2014 0689 La.App. 1 Cir. 2] PETTIGREW, J.

In this action alleging negligence, plaintiff challenges a trial court judgment sustaining a peremptory exception filed on behalf of defendants raising the objection of prescription and dismissing, with prejudice, plaintiff's claims. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff, Adrian Illes, and Katherine Sturgill divorced in 2007. They were awarded joint custody of their minor son, A.I., with Katherine designated as domiciliary parent. On November 4, 2011, A.I., who was nine years old at the time, was injured while on a school field trip to the Louisiana State Capital in East Baton Rouge Parish. On January 4, 2012, Katherine filed suit against defendants, the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Catholic Mutual Group, a/k/a Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America (" Diocese" ), and the State of Louisiana, through the Division of Administration (" State" ), on behalf of A.I. for his damages. She amended the suit to add a loss of consortium claim on her own behalf. However, Adrian did not file suit until April 12, 2013, against the same defendants, seeking his own claim for loss of consortium damages.

In response to Adrian's petition, the Diocese filed a peremptory exception raising the objection of prescription.[1] The Diocese argued that a claim for loss of consortium damages pursuant to La. Civ. Code arts. 2315 and 2315.2 was delictual in nature and subject to a one year liberative prescriptive period pursuant to La. Civ. Code art. 3492.[2] The Diocese argued that prescription was evident on the face of Adrian's petition and that Adrian could not meet his burden of establishing that his claim was filed timely. Noting that Katherine's petition was a pleading filed in a separate suit, the Diocese [2014 0689 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] maintained that Katherine's timely filed petition was irrelevant to the issues before the court and could not interrupt the running of prescription for the claims Adrian asserted in his petition. The matter proceeded to hearing on March 3, 2014. After hearing arguments and reviewing the evidence submitted, the trial court sustained the Diocese's exception and dismissed Adrian's claim with prejudice. In oral reasons for judgment, the trial court made the following findings:

After careful review, the court hereby finds that the claim for loss of consortium is a claim for damages, and as such is a delictual action subject to a liberative one-year prescriptive period. Additionally, a claim for loss of consortium is a separate cause of action from that of

Page 648

the primary victim. Furthermore, the claim for loss of consortium is not an assertion of the victim's cause of action; therefore, it would have to stand to reason that the claim for the loss of consortium does not relate back to the original claim of the victim.

On the face of the instant petition, the plaintiff's claim has prescribed. Furthermore, the claims asserted by [A.I.'s] mother, Katherine Sturgill, are still pending in a wholly separate suit and does not reference Adrian Illes. The State could not have known via the petition and amended petitions filed by Ms. Sturgill that the plaintiff in this matter possibly had a claim for damages arising out of the incident which occurred on November 4th, 2011. The claim for loss of ...

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