APPLICATION FOR SUPERVISORY WRITS FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL
DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 2011-0898 HONORABLE
PATRICK MICHOT, DISTRICT JUDGE
de la Houssaye Donald W. Washington Jones Walker LLP COUNSEL
FOR OTHER RESPONDENT: Louisiana Patient's Compensation
Fund Oversight Board
Lomax Jordan Jr. Victor A. Ashy COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPLICANT: Laureen Olson
Michael W. Adley Adam Gulotta Judice & Adley, APLC
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/RESPONDENTS: Paul M. Toce, Jr. Paul M.
Toce, Jr., A Professional Medical Corporation
S. Schneidau Norma F. Pizza Milling Benson Woodward LLP
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/RESPONDENT: LAMMICO
composed of Syvia R. Cooks, Billy Howard Ezell, and Shannon
J. Gremillion, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE
plaintiff-applicant, Laureen Olson, applied for supervisory
writs with this court following the trial court's grant
of the exceptions of vagueness, ambiguity, and prematurity
filed by the Louisiana Patient Compensation Fund Oversight
Board (the PCF) in response to her Petition for Approval of
Settlement of Medical Malpractice Claim pursuant to La.R.S.
40:1231.4. We called up the writ and requested
supplemental briefing and argument. For the following
reasons, the writ is granted, and the ruling of the trial
court is reversed. The matter is remanded for proceedings
consistent with this opinion.
AND PROCEDURAL BAsCKGROUND
basic facts of this case are not disputed. A medical review
panel found that Dr. Paul M. Toce, Jr., 
defendant-respondent, committed medical malpractice in his
treatment of Olson and, further, engaged in an inappropriate
sexual relationship with her. Over the years, extensive
litigation and procedural matters have arisen. Olson first
filed two lawsuits in February 2011 prior to the convening of
the panel: one for medical malpractice and one for general
tort claims not considered medical malpractice. After the
panel rendered its opinion in December 2012, and following
appeals to this court, the general tort suit was amended to
include the medical malpractice claims. In Olson v.
Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Co., 13-1182 (La.App.
3 Cir. 3/5/14), 134 So.3d 1276, writ denied, 14-1053
(La. 10/24/14), 151 So.3d 601, we reversed the trial
court's ruling which sustained the exception of lis
pendens, thereby reviving the original medical malpractice
claim. Thereafter, the two suits were consolidated in
September 2016. These suits asserted claims for medical
malpractice and non-medical-malpractice claims arising from a
sexual relationship between Toce and Olson.
prior to the consolidation, Defendants filed various
exceptions to the amended suit, arguing that Olson needed to
specify which acts were medical malpractice and which were
general tort claims. Olson filed writs with this court
following the trial court's ruling that the lawsuit
needed to be amended to specify which acts constituted
medical malpractice and which constituted a breach of general
tort law. The PCF participated in the arguments to the trial
court. We granted the writ and reversed the trial court,
finding that Olson's third amended supplemental and
restated petition was "sufficient to inform the
defendants of the claims asserted and to allow them to
prepare a defense." See Writ Application, pg.
167, Olson v. ABC Insurance Co., 15-339 (La.App. 3
Cir. 5/27/15) (an unpublished writ opinion).
in December 2016, Olson and Defendants agreed to settle her
claims for the sum of $140, 000, reserving all rights against
the PCF. Olson filed her Petition for Approval of Settlement
of Medical Malpractice Claim Pursuant to La.R.S. 40:1231.4.
October 2016, the PCF filed an amended peremptory exception
of no cause of action, dilatory exception of vagueness and
ambiguity, answer and objections to the petition for approval
of settlement of medical malpractice claim pursuant to
La.R.S. 40:1231.4. The PCF's main argument was that the
settlement does not assign dollar values distinguishing
between medical malpractice and non-medical-malpractice
claims being settled.
a November 2016 hearing, the trial court agreed and granted
the PCF's exception of vagueness and ambiguity, thereby
denying the petition for approval of the settlement. The
trial court's judgment on the exceptions noted the
granting of the exceptions were without prejudice to
Olson's "right to amend, supplement or re-state the
petition for approval of the settlement." In its written
reasons for judgment, the trial court noted:
Ultimately, the Court sustained the PCF's Dilatory
Exception of Vagueness and Ambiguity, in order to allow the
PCF to adequately prepare its defense for trial. The PCF must
defend itself against claims of medical malpractice; however,
the PCF does not need to defend itself against claims of
. . . .
The Court sustained the PCF's Dilatory Exception of
Prematurity, finding that it would be premature for this
Court to approve Plaintiff's settlement with the
underlying providers because the settlement clearly includes
settlement of claims involving sexual misconduct, which are
not covered by the Louisiana MMA.
filed this writ application seeking reversal of the trial
court's ruling and assigns as error:
1. The trial court erred in sustaining the dilatory
exceptions of ambiguity and prematurity as the PCFOB an
intervenor takes the proceedings as he finds them under
La.C.C.P. Article 1094.
2. The trial court erred in sustaining the Dilatory Exception
of Vagueness/Ambiguity relating to the petition to approve
the settlement between plaintiff Olson and Defendants Toce
APMC and Toce, Jr. and their insurer LAMMICO, as law of the
case precludes reconsideration of the issue of vagueness.
3. The trial court erred in sustaining the Dilatory Exception
of Prematurity relating to the petition to approve the
settlement between plaintiff Olson and Defendants Toce APMC
and Toce, Jr. and their insurer LAMMICO as there was full
compliance with the statutory procedures mandated by LSA-RS
4. The trial court erred in failing to approve a global
settlement of all claims by plaintiff Olson and against
Defendants Toce APMC and Toce, Jr. and their insurer LAMMICO,
A) the settling parties are competent to enter into the
B) there is a basis for the plaintiff's claims in law and
C) the medical review panel found the defendant healthcare
providers to be in breach of the standard of care; and,
D) the medical review panel found the defendant healthcare
providers to have caused damage to the plaintiff and
procedures mandated by ...