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Billeaudeau v. Opelousas General Hospital Authority

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

February 7, 2018

BRANDI BILLEAUDEAU, ET AL.
v.
OPELOUSAS GENERAL HOSPITAL AUTHORITY, ET AL.

         APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. LANDRY, NO. 11-C-5112-D C/W NO. 13-C-0097-D HONORABLE D. JASON MECHE, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Kara Hadican Samuels, Tiffany A. Morales, Kara Hadican Samuels & Associates, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS:

          Brandi Billeaudeau, Joseph Billeaudeau, Veronica Billeaudeau, Jennifer L. Thornton, Christian S. Chaney, Stanley, Reuter, Ross, Thornton & Alford, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS:

          Joseph Billeaudeau, Veronica Billeaudeau, Brandi Billeaudeau, Joseph L. McReynolds John Jerry Glas Karen P. Holland, Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles, L.L.P. 755 Magazine St. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: Opelousas General Hospital Authority

          Nicholas Gachassin, III Brandon M. Rhodes Gary J. Delahoussaye Gachassin Law Firm, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: Opelousas General Hospital Authority

          J. Gregory Vidrine, Mahtook & LaFleur COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE:

          Opelousas General Hospital Authority Jacob E. Favaron Allen & Gooch COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES:

          Dr. Kondilo Skirlis-Zavala, Louisiana Patients' Compensation Fund, Opelousas General Hospital, George P. Hebbler, Jr. Thomas M. Young Frances I. Mcginnis Hebbler & Giordano, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: Nautilus Ins. Co.

          Court composed of Billy H. Ezell, Van H. Kyzar, and Candyce G. Perret, Judges.

          CANDYCE G. PERRET JUDGE

         Veronica and Joseph Billeaudeau, individually and on behalf of Brandi Billeaudeau (collectively "Plaintiffs"), appeal a trial court judgment that granted Opelousas General Hospital Authority's (hereinafter, "OGH") and Nautilus Insurance Company's (collectively "Defendants") Motion for Partial Summary Judgment finding that the Louisiana Governmental Claims Act is controlling with respect to Plaintiffs' claim of negligent credentialing. Plaintiffs also appeal the trial court's judgment that denied their Motion to Declare La.R.S. 13:5201(B)(1) unconstitutional. For the following reasons, we affirm the July 5, 2017 trial court judgment.

         FACTS:

         The underlying facts of this case were discussed previously in Billeaudeau v. Opelousas Gen. Hosp., 16-846, pp. 2-3 (La. 10/19/16), 218 So.3d 513, 514-15 (footnotes omitted), as follows:

On June 20, 2010, Brandi, a woman thirty-four years of age with Down syndrome, was taken to OGH by her parents, Veronica and Joseph Billeaudeau, after she collapsed at home. Upon arrival at the ED, Dr. Zavala diagnosed Brandi with focal motor seizure. Dr. Zavala ordered the administration of anti-seizure medication and a CT scan, which was reported as normal.
The Billeaudeaus disagreed with the doctor's diagnosis. Thinking their daughter had suffered a stroke, they asked that Brandi be given tPA (t-plasminogen activator), a treatment for stroke victims. However, according to plaintiffs' allegations, Dr. Zavala informed them their daughter was not a candidate for tPA. The Billeaudeaus then requested Brandi be transferred to Our Lady of Lourdes (OLOL) in Lafayette. Dr. Zavala arranged for Brandi's transfer to OLOL, where she was given tPA over four hours after she suffered what was ultimately determined to be a stroke. Brandi survived the stroke but unfortunately suffered severe, irreversible brain damage.
Veronica, individually and as Brandi's curatrix, along with Joseph pursued a claim under the LMMA [Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act] and brought suit against OGH, among other defendants, specifically alleging:
Defendant, Opelousas General Hospital, is liable unto Petitioners because Ms. Billeaudeau's injuries and damages, which will be specified hereinafter, were proximately and legally caused by the fault, including negligence, of Opelousas General Hospital and its officers, agents, employees, and those for whom it is legally responsible, including the following negligent acts of omission and commission, among others, which may be shown during the trial:
a. Failure to develop and/or implement adequate policies and procedures to competently address stroke and/or administration of tPA;
b. Failure to distribute its written stroke and/or tPA protocol to Dr. Kondilo Skirlis-Zavala, a physician working in the hospital's emergency department;
c. Failure to ensure that Dr. Zavala had reviewed and accepted the hospital's written stroke and/or tPA protocol;
d. Failure to supervise Dr. Zavala, a physician working in Opelousas General's emergency department; and
e. Negligent credentialing of Dr. Zavala.
Thereafter, plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment asking the District Court to declare their claim against OGH for negligent credentialing was not subject to the terms of the LMMA, including the cap on damages found in La. Rev. Stat. § 40:1231.2(B)(1).

         The trial court granted Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment finding that negligent credentialing was not covered by the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act ("LMMA"). This court and the Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment, finding that Plaintiffs' negligent credentialing claim sounds in general negligence and does not fall within the provision of the LMMA.

         On March 15, 2017, OGH filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the Applicability of the Louisiana Government Claims Act and Rule to Show Cause, arguing the following legal elements, in pertinent part:

1. The claim against OGHA [OGH] for negligent credentialing is not covered by the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act. (Billeaudeau v. Opelousas General Hospital Authority, et al, 2016 WL 6123862 (La. 2016)).
2. Hospital Service Districts, including St. Landry Parish Hospital Service District No. 2, are political subdivisions of the state. (LSA-R.S. 46:1064(A); LSA-R.S. 56:1072(2)(b); Bertrand v. Sandoz, 255 So.3d 754, 755 (La. 1971)).
3. The Opelousas General Hospital Authority is a public trust established to finance, construct, operate, manage and administer hospital and ancillary facilities for St. Landry Parish Hospital Service District No. 2. (Bertrand v. Sandoz, 255 So.3d ...

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