Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Arceneaux v. Lafayette General Medical Center

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

July 26, 2017



          Nicholas Gachassin, III Holly McKay Descant Gachassin Law Firm Counsel for Defendant/Applicant: Lafayette General Medical Center

          Patrick D. Magee, Voorhies & Labbe Counsel for Defendant: Bobby Nevils, M.D.

          Harold D. Register, III Attorney at Law Counsel for Plaintiff/Respondent: Kayla Arceneaux

          Court composed of John D. Saunders, Phyllis M. Keaty, and Candyce G. Perret, Judges.


         In this medical malpractice case, defendant-relator, Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC or the hospital), filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to have the claims against it by plaintiff-respondent, Kayla Arceneaux, dismissed with prejudice on the basis that she failed to present any evidence to establish that it breached the applicable standard of care or that any alleged breach caused her damages. At the conclusion of the hearing on LGMC's motion, the trial court granted plaintiff a ninety-day extension to produce an expert and disclose the expert's opinion to it and the hospital. A judgment memorializing the trial court's ruling was signed on May 15, 2017, and LGMC seeks supervisory writs from that judgment. For the following reasons, we grant the writ, reverse the trial court's judgment, and remand.


         The plaintiff was admitted into LGMC on January 13, 2014, when she was approximately thirty to thirty-one weeks pregnant. According to the petition, plaintiff's obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Bobby Nevils, wanted hourly fetal monitoring. Over the course of the next few days, the fetal monitor was removed; however, there is a dispute concerning whether this was done at plaintiff's request. By January 15, 2014, fetal heart tones were no longer detected. The next day, plaintiff delivered a stillborn male with hydrocephalus, commonly known as water on the brain. Within several days of the delivery, plaintiff began to complain that she was unable to feel her legs. Two or three times during her care, plaintiff fell to the floor as she was being assisted out of bed by nurses and/or aides.

         On December 30, 2014, plaintiff filed a request for a medical review panel (MRP), which rendered a unanimous opinion finding that neither LGMC nor Dr. Nevils failed to meet the applicable standard of care. Plaintiff filed the instant suit on May 3, 2016.[1] According to plaintiff's petition, she "suffered a disc protrusion at L2-L3" and "incurred extensive medical expenses" "[a]s a result of the negligent care of the nurses and/or hospital personnel." LGMC answered the suit, joining therewith an exception of vagueness and ambiguity and a motion to strike portions of plaintiff's petition. As evidenced in a Consent Judgment signed on July 25, 2016, plaintiff agreed to the entry of an order granting LGMC's exception and motion. On January 18, 2017, LGMC filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff had no experts to establish the standard of care or breach thereof so as to meet her burden of proof. In support of its motion, LGMC filed the MRP opinion and reasons.[2] Due to the fact that discovery remained outstanding at the time, plaintiff requested and the trial court signed an Unopposed Motion to Continue resetting the hearing on LGMC's motion from March 6, 2017, to May 1, 2017. As to the merits of LGMC's motion, Plaintiff argued that LGMC's malpractice was so obvious that a layperson could infer negligence without expert testimony. Four exhibits were attached to plaintiff's opposition, consisting of affidavits executed by her and her mother, progress notes from her stay at LGMC, and two LGMC Patient Safety Reports concerning two falls that occurred during her hospital stay.

         At the May 1, 2017 hearing, the trial court stated:

I'm not even going to recite the facts of this . . . . There's no doubt in the world you cannot survive a medical malpractice case without an expert. Either you get an expert or I dismiss the case. I'm not even going to talk about it. You can't have a claimant say this happened to me, it's negligence. That doesn't work in medical malpractice. So I've got nothing else to say.
. . . .
It's causation that you're having a problem with . . . . It's not whether the baby didn't survive. It's causation. You ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.