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Green v. Buell

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

April 5, 2017

JARRARD A. GREEN, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE OF BERNADINE GREEN
v.
DR. JOSEPH F. BUELL, DR. DOUGLAS P. SLAKEY, AND TULANE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL-MEDICAL CENTER-CLINIC

         APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2014-06151, DIVISION "G-11" Honorable Robin M. Giarrusso, Judge

          LOBRANO, J., CONCURS IN THE RESULT John-Michael Lawrence COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT

          Stewart E. Niles, Jr. Mark E. Kaufman NILES, BOURQUE & KNIGHT, LLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES/DR. JOSEPH F. BUELL, JR. AND DR. DOUGLAS P. SLAKEY

          Peter E. Sperling Krystle M. Ferbos FRILOT, LLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE/UNIVERSITY HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, L.C. D/B/A TULANE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL AND CLINIC

          (Court composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Regina Bartholomew Woods)

          Roland L. Belsome Judge

         This is a medical malpractice case arising out of a kidney donation and transplant. The plaintiff, Jarrard Green donated a kidney to his sister Bernadine Green.[1] Due to complications after the transplant, the donated kidney died. Subsequently, this lawsuit was filed alleging medical malpractice and lack of informed consent. The defendants, Dr. Joseph Buell, Dr. Douglas Slakey, and Tulane University Hospital, filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's claims against the defendants. For the reasons that follow we affirm.

         Statement of Facts

         In 2009, Bernadine Green was suffering from end-stage renal disease and was on peritoneal dialysis. Given her condition, Ms. Green was in need of a kidney transplant. She was provided information on the transplant process and consented to be evaluated for a transplant. Later, it was determined that her brother Jarrard Green would be her kidney donor.

         On May 11, 2010, Ms. Green underwent surgery. The living-related renal transplant was performed by Dr. Joseph Buell. In the days that followed, the kidney failed and ultimately had to be removed. Ms. Green underwent several procedures during the days leading up to the kidney being removed. The transplant and all subsequent procedures became the subject of the medical malpractice complaint and lawsuit.

         Shortly after Ms. Green's release from the hospital, she and Jarrard Green initiated a Medical Review Panel process. The Medical Review Panel rendered an opinion that found in favor of the healthcare providers determining that the doctors did not breach the applicable standard of care. Following that finding, Jarrard Green and Bernadine Green filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging negligence and lack of informed consent.

         In April 2016, approximately two years after the filing of the lawsuit and approximately six years from the initiation of the Medical Review Panel, the defendants filed motions for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked the expert testimony necessary to support the allegations in the petition. After a hearing on the motions for summary judgment, the trial court ruled in favor of the defendants. This appeal followed.

         Assignment of Error

         On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment because an expert is not necessary to prove his claims and there are genuine issues of material ...


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