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Thompson v. The Center for Pediatric

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

March 15, 2018

PETRIE AND BERTHA THOMPSON
v.
THE CENTER FOR PEDIATRIC AND ADOLESCENT MEDICINE, L.L.C., BERNARD GAUDIN, PNP, HENRY M. PELTIER, M.D., LOUISIANA MEDICAL MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, AND AMERICAN CASUALTY COMPANY OF READING, PENNSYLVANIA

         On Appeal from The 17th Judicial District Court, Parish of Lafourche, State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 123765 The Honorable Steven M. Miller, Judge Presiding

          Michael C. Palmintier Joshua M. Palmintier Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Plaintiffs/Appellants, Petrie Thompson and Bertha Thompson

          Micholle W. Mordock Metairie, Louisiana Attorney for Defendants/Appellees, Bernard Gaudin and American Casualty Company of Reading, PA

          Deborah I. Schroeder Metairie, Louisiana Attorney for Defendants/ Appellees, Henry M. Peltier, MD, The Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, L.L.C., and Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Company

          BEFORE: GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.

          CRAIN, J.

         The plaintiffs in this medical malpractice action appeal a summary judgment dismissing their claims against two defendants. We reverse and remand.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This case arises out of the death of Jessica Thompson, the one-year-old daughter of the plaintiffs, Petrie and Bertha Thompson. Three days before Jessica's death, Bertha brought her to The Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, L.L.C. (The Center), where she was examined by Bernard Gaudin, a nurse practioner. The Thompsons allege, in relevant part, that Gaudin provided substandard care to Jessica by administering immunizations under contraindicated conditions. As a result, Jessica allegedly suffered injuries and ultimately died.

         The Thompsons sued Gaudin, The Center, and Henry M. Peltier, M.D., Gaudin's alleged supervisor.[1] The claims against Dr. Peltier and The Center were reviewed by a medical review panel, which found no breach of the applicable standard of care and, more specifically, found Jessica's condition was appropriate for the administration of vaccines. Relying on that opinion, Gaudin and his liability insurer, American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania, (collectively "Gaudin") filed a motion for summary judgment seeking a dismissal of the claims against them. Gaudin asserted the Thompsons had "no expert to establish the standard of care, whether there was a breach of the standard of care, and whether there was medical causation."

         The Thompsons responded with the affidavit of Robert S. Chabon, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician, who attested that, based upon his review of Jessica's medical records, Gaudin breached the standard of care when he administered the vaccinations to Jessica. The administration of those vaccinations, according to Dr. Chabon, resulted in Jessica's untimely death.

         Gaudin objected to the affidavit, arguing it was inadmissible and should be stricken because it was untimely, not in proper form, and conclusory. The trial court allowed the affidavit into evidence but found it insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact. In a judgment signed on March 6, 2017, the trial court granted the motion for summary judgment and dismissed, with prejudice, the Thompsons' claims against Gaudin. The Thompsons appeal.

         DISCUSSION

         After an opportunity for adequate discovery, a motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the motion, memorandum, and supporting documents show there is no genuine issue as to material fact and the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 966A(3). The summary judgment procedure is favored and shall be construed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 966A(2). In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, appellate courts review evidence de novo under the same criteria governing the ...


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