FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2015-08161,
DIVISION "L-6" Honorable Kern A. Reese, Judge
Hurst PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT/IN PROPER PERSON.
Landry, Attorney General J. Marc Vezina, Special Assistant
Attorney General Kelli M. Khalaf, Special Assistant Attorney
General VEZINA AND GATTUSO, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR
composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Terri F.
Love, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins.
CABRINA JENKINS JUDGE.
medical malpractice action, Mario Hurst appeals the trial
court's July 1, 2016 judgment granting the Exception of
Prescription filed by appellees, the State of Louisiana and
Dr. Heather Murphy Lavoie. For the reasons that follow, we
affirm the trial court's judgment.
considering the merits in any appeal, appellate courts have
the duty to determine sua sponte whether subject
matter jurisdiction exists, even when the parties do not
raise the issue." Moon v. City of New Orleans,
15-1092, 15-1093, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/16/16), 190 So.3d
422, 425. This court "cannot reach the merits of an
appeal unless our appellate jurisdiction has been properly
invoked by a valid final judgment." Id. A valid
final judgment is "one that determines the merits in
whole or in part and is identified as such by appropriate
language." Id., 15-1092, pp. 5-6, 190 So.3d at
425 (citing La. C.C.P. arts. 1841, 1918). "'A final
appealable judgment must contain decretal language, and it
must name the party in favor of whom the ruling is ordered,
the party against whom the ruling is ordered, and the relief
that is granted or denied.'" Id., 15-1092,
p. 6, 190 So.3d at 425 (quoting Mid City Holdings,
14-0506, pp. 2-3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 10/15/14), 151 So.3d 908,
910). "The result decreed must be spelled out in lucid,
unmistakable language. The quality of definiteness is
essential to a proper judgment." Id. "The
specific relief granted should be determinable from the
judgment without reference to an extrinsic source such as
pleadings or reasons for judgment." Id.
matter, the July 1, 2016 judgment from which Mr. Hurst
appeals states as follows:
This matter came for hearing on Defendants' Exception of
Prescription on the 1st day of July, 2016.
PRESENT: Kelli M. Khalaf, Attorney for Defendants, State of
Louisiana, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
and Dr. Heather Murphy Lavoie
Mario Hurst, Plaintiff, in proper person
After hearing the pleadings, evidence, applicable law, and
argument of counsel, the Court granted the Defendants'
Exception of Prescription for the reasons orally assigned,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that
Defendants' Exception of Prescription is hereby granted.
that this judgment lacks definitive decretal language
necessary for the exercise of our appellate jurisdiction. We
cannot determine from the face of the judgment whether the
granting of the Exception of Prescription results in the
dismissal of all or some of Mr. Hurst's claims. Although
reference to the transcript suggests that the trial court
intended to dismiss Mr. Hurst's case, such relief was not
granted in the written judgment. In the absence of decretal
language specifying the relief granted, the July 1, 2016