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McCauley v. Stubbs

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

April 25, 2018

DANIEL P. MCCAULEY
v.
MALCOLM STUBBS

          APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. C-20170285 HONORABLE JOHN D. TRAHAN, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Jonathan C. Vidrine COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Daniel P. McCauley

          Michael W. Adley Judice & Adley COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Dr. Malcolm Stubbs

          Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Marc T. Amy, and John E. Conery, Judges.

          SYLVIA R. COOKS JUDGE.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In August of 2004, Plaintiff, Daniel McCauley, injured his right knee in a work-related accident. Plaintiff began receiving treatment from Dr. Malcolm Stubbs in connection with his knee injury. On September 28, 2004, Dr. Stubbs performed a right knee arthroscopy and debridement of the chondromalacia of the right patella.

         In early 2010, Plaintiff returned to Dr. Stubbs complaining of renewed pain in his right knee. On February 12, 2010, Dr. Stubbs performed a right knee arthroscopy with patellofemoral chondroplasty and debridement. Despite that procedure, Plaintiff continued to complain of pain in his right knee. On June 11, 2010, Dr. Stubbs performed a right knee arthroscopy with open tibial tubercle anterior medialization osteotomy and transfer.

         Plaintiff still complained of continued right knee pain, and on March 20, 2013, Dr. Stubbs performed a total right knee arthroplasty. Plaintiff continued to treat with Dr. Stubbs until January of 2015. He claimed during this entire period and continuing to the present he has suffered from pain in his right knee.

         On August 17, 2016, Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against Dr. Stubbs. In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged Dr. Stubbs committed malpractice in connection with the osteotomy procedure performed on June 11, 2010 and in connection with the total right knee arthroplasty performed on March 20, 2013. In response to the complaint, Dr. Stubbs filed an exception of prescription, contending that Plaintiff's claim was prescribed. A hearing on the exception was held on March 1, 2017.

         Plaintiff argued prescription was suspended until January of 2015, when the doctor-patient relationship was terminated. He argued prescription began to run on that date and he had one year to bring his malpractice claim from the date the doctor-patient relationship ended or one year from when he discovered the act of malpractice as long as that discovery was made inside of the three-year prescriptive period under the rule of contra non valentum. Plaintiff claimed he did not discover the acts of malpractice until April 29, 2016, and thus, had one year from that date to file his claim.

         Following arguments, the trial court allowed the parties additional time to submit memoranda. The trial court granted the exception of prescription, finding prescription runs from one year of the date of discovery only when the claim is brought within three years of the act of the alleged malpractice. Plaintiff did not bring the claim within three years, nor within one year after the doctor-patient relationship ended. Accordingly, the trial court granted the exception of prescription. On May 8, 2017, a final judgment granting the exception of prescription was signed by the trial court. This appeal followed, wherein Plaintiff asserts the trial court erred in granting the exception of prescription. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         ANALYSIS

         This court in Allain v. Tripple B Holding, LLC, 13-673, p. 9-10 (La.App. 3 Cir. 12/11/13), 128 So.3d 1278, 1285, discussed the appellate ...


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