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Jeansonne v. Bonano

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

January 23, 2018

RICHARD JEANSONNE, JR., M.D.
v.
FERDINAND BONANO

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT NUMBER 2015-10067, DIVISION F, PARISH OF ST. TAMMANY STATE OF LOUISIANA HONORABLE MARTIN E. COADY, JUDGE

          Michael E. Holoway Folsom, Louisiana Counsel for Plaintiff-Appellant Richard Jeansonne, Jr., M.D.

          Elisabeth Wolfe Ramirez Covington, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant-Appellee Ferdinand Bonano.

          BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McDONALD, AND CHUTZ, JJ.

          CHUTZ, J.

         Plaintiff-appellant, Dr. Richard Jeansonne, Jr., appeals the trial court's judgment, which sustained peremptory exceptions raising objections of no cause of action and prescription and dismissed claims of malicious prosecution and defamation against defendant-appellee, Ferdinand Bonano. We affirm.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         After the death of his wife while she was hospitalized, Mr. Bonano, in proper person, requested the formation of a medical review panel (MRP), on May 8, 2012, naming Dr. Jeansonne, among other medical health care providers, as a defendant. In response to a request for specific allegations of negligence elicited by the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, [1] Mr. Bonano stated the following:

Elaine Bonano was seen by Dr. Jeansonne after being admitted through the ER. He then agreed with the UTI diagnosis and began the treatment for the infection. She was then sent home after a short stay with oral medications. Within a day or two Elaine returned to the ER and again was admitted. Mr. Bonano was told that Elaine's doctors no longer came to [the hospital]. Therefore ... [another doctor] ... was called in and properly diagnosed Elaine with kidney infection not UTI. Mr. Bonano feels that the missed diagnosis was the beginning of the end.

         A MRP was convened and met by telephone conference on December 3, 2013. The MPR unanimously concluded that Dr. Jeansonne had appropriately treated Mrs. Bonano when he had last seen her and that Dr. Jeansonne had not seen Mrs. Bonano during her final admission to the hospital.

         Although Mr. Bonano did not institute a medical malpractice lawsuit, Dr. Jeansonne subsequently filed a petition for damages alleging malicious prosecution and defamation claims on January 7, 2015. According to Dr. Jeansonne, "[u]pon information and belief, Mr. Bonano knew Dr. Jeansonne could not have been responsible for Mrs. Bonano's death, and he had no evidence to support or even suggest such a claim when he requested the formation of the [MRP]."

         Mr. Bonano filed an answer to Dr. Jeansonne's lawsuit in proper person, generally denying the allegations against him. After he obtained legal counsel, Mr. Bonano filed peremptory exceptions objecting on the basis of no cause of action and prescription. After a hearing, the trial court sustained an exception of no cause of action as to Dr. Jeansonne's malicious prosecution claim and an exception of prescription as to the defamation claim. Expressly concluding that an amendment to Dr. Jeansonne's petition would not cure the deficiency in the malicious prosecution claim, the trial court dismissed the lawsuit. Dr. Jeansonne appeals.

         NO CAUSE OF ACTION

         The function of an exception of no cause of action is to test the legal sufficiency of the petition by determining whether the law affords a remedy on the facts alleged in the pleading. No evidence may be introduced to support or controvert an exception of no cause of action. La. C.C.P. art. 931. Every reasonable interpretation must be accorded the language of the petition in favor of maintaining its sufficiency and affording the plaintiff the opportunity of presenting evidence at ...


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