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Williams v. SIF Consultants of Louisiana, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

April 4, 2018

GEORGE RAYMOND WILLIAMS, M.D., ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY, A PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL L.L.C.
v.
SIF CONSULTANTS OF LOUISIANA, INC., RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES, L.L.C., MED-COMP USA, INC., ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. LANDRY, NO. 09-C-5244-C HONORABLE ALONZO HARRIS, DISTRICT JUDGE

          E. Paige Sensenbrenner, Martin A. Stern, Raymond P. Ward, Sara C. Valentine, Adams and Reese, L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Homeland Insurance Company of New York

          Michael J. Rosen, Peter F. Lovato, III, Skarzynski Black, LLP COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Homeland Insurance Company of New York

          Michael E. Parker, Randall K. Theunissen, D. Paul Gardner, Jr., Allen & Gooch COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Homeland Insurance Company of New York

          Thomas A. Filo, Somer G. Brown, Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: George Raymond Williams, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery, A Professional Medical L.L.C.

          John S. Bradford, William B. Monk, Stockwell, Sievert, Viccellio, Clements & Shaddock, L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: George Raymond Williams, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery, A Professional Medical L.L.C.

          Patrick C. Morrow, Sr., James P. Ryan, Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: George Raymond Williams, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery, A Professional Medical L.L.C.

          Stephen B. Murray, Sr., Stephen B. Murray, Jr., Arthur M. Murray, Murray Law Firm COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: George Raymond Williams, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery, A Professional Medical L.L.C.

          Charles T. Curtis, Jr. Gerard George Metzger Attorneys at Law 829 Baronne Street New Orleans, LA COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Med-Comp USA, Inc.

          L. Lane Roy Brown Sims, P.C., COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Bestcomp, Inc.

          Janice Bertucci Unland Rabalais, Unland COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Risk Management Services

          Ronald P. Schiller Daniel J. Layden, Hangley, Aronchick, Segal, Pudlin & Schiller COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Risk Management Services

          Steven William Usdin, Barrasso, Usdin, Kupperman, Freeman & Sarver, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Executive Risk Specialty Ins. Co.

          Cynthia J. Thomas, Galloway, Johnson, Thompkins, Burr & Smith COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: SIF Consultants of Louisiana, Inc.

          John Mark Fezio, Stone Pigman Walther Wittman, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: CorVel Corp.

          Patrick A. Juneau, Jr. The Juneau Firm

          Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Marc T. Amy, Shannon J. Gremillion, Phyllis M. Keaty, and John E. Conery, Judges.

          JOHN E. CONERY JUDGE

         This appeal addresses the appropriate date from which legal interest will attach to a judgment. Homeland Insurance Company of New York (Homeland) appeals the judgment of the trial court awarding legal interest to the plaintiff class, represented by George Raymond Williams, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery, A Professional Medical L.L.C., in an action against, among other defendants, CorVel Corporation (CorVel), which was insured by Homeland. The trial court's judgment awarded legal interest from December 22, 2006, the date plaintiff class demanded arbitration in federal court against CorVel. Homeland claims legal interest is due from March 24, 2011, the date suit was filed in state court by the plaintiff class naming CorVel as a defendant and its insurer, Homeland, as a direct action defendant. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This matter was initially filed on December 22, 2006 as a class arbitration against CorVel. It is undisputed that CorVel was insured under a 2006-2007 claims-made policy issued by Homeland. It is also undisputed that the arbitration demand originally included a prayer for legal interest. The plaintiff class arbitration petition claimed that CorVel had violated La.R.S. 40:2203.1 titled, "Prohibition of certain practices by preferred provider organizations, " by providing preferred provider organization (PPO) discounts to their clients without providing the medical providers the necessary notification under the statute. Therefore, the plaintiff class claimed that the PPO's alternative rates of payment were not enforceable against the medical providers. The arbitration was never completed but remained pending when the plaintiff class filed the state court petition.

         On September 20, 2009, the plaintiff class filed a "Petition for Damages and Class Certification" naming additional PPOs as defendants. On March 24, 2011, CorVel was named as a defendant, and its insurer, Homeland, was added as a direct action defendant in the plaintiff class's "First Amended and Re-Stated Petition for Damages and Class Certification." Homeland filed an exception of no right of action claiming that the suit by the plaintiff class was an action in contract and therefore they were not subject to suit under the direct action statute. This court on appeal found that the petition filed by the plaintiff class could provide the basis for a claim sounding in both tort and contract, and therefore the plaintiff class was allowed to proceed with its direct action claim against Homeland. Williams v. SIF Consultants of La. Inc., 12-419 (La.App. 3 Cir. 11/7/12), 103 So.3d 1172, writ denied, 12-2637 (La. 3/15/13), 109 So.3d 381. (Williams I)

         Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff class and CorVel entered into a class-wide settlement due to the number of claims and litigation in various forums. On April 27, 2011, the parties filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of the settlement. On November 4, 2011, the trial court approved the settlement, which reserved the plaintiff class's demands against the remaining defendants, including its direct action claims against Homeland, CorVel's insurer.

         The plaintiff class filed a partial motion for summary judgment against CorVel's insurers, which included Homeland. The trial court found that the initial claim for class arbitration filed on December 22, 2006 triggered coverage under the 2006-2007 Homeland claims-made policy issued to its insured CorVel. The trial court's ruling resulted in a final judgment dated February 5, 2016, in favor of the plaintiff class and an award of Homeland's full policy limits of ten million dollars, "together with legal interest thereon." Homeland filed a timely appeal. A panel of this court affirmed the trial court's judgment in favor of the plaintiff class, and the supreme court subsequently denied writs. Williams v. SIF Consultants of La., Inc., 16-343 (La.App. 3 Cir. 12/29/16), 209 So.3d 903, writ denied, 17-390 (La. 4/13/17), 218 So.3d 629. (Williams II)

         Once the judgment became final, Homeland paid its policy limits of ten million dollars and legal interest only from March 24, 2011, the date that Homeland was named as a direct action defendant as CorVel's insurer. Homeland failed to pay legal interest from December 22, 2006, the date of the original demand against ...


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