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James v. Our Lady of Lourdes, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

December 12, 2018

MONA JAMES
v.
OUR LADY OF LOURDES, INCORPORATED, ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. C-20155666 HONORABLE EDWARD D. RUBIN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          Chris D. Billings, Douglas K. Williams, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P., COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Inc.

          Marcus A. Bryant Marcus A. Bryant, LLC., COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Mona James.

          Court composed of John D. Saunders, Billy Howard Ezell, and Candyce G. Perret, Judges.

          Ezell, J., concurs.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS JUDGE.

         This is a case involving an alleged slip and fall at a hospital. The Plaintiff's case was dismissed via summary judgment based on her inability to prove the notice requirement under La.R.S. 9:2800.6(B) in order to find fault by the hospital. Days prior to the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff requested a continuance and leave of court to amend and supplement her petition. The trial court denied the motion for continuance without a hearing and denied the request for leave of court to amend and supplement her petition. Thereafter, the trial court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the claim with prejudice.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

         On December 23, 2014, Mona James, (Appellant) went to Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette to visit her sister who was a patient in the intensive care unit located on the third floor of the hospital. After visiting her sister, Appellant alleges that she slipped and fell due to a foreign substance on the floor. As a result of the alleged slip and fall, on November 12, 2015, Appellant filed suit against Our Lady of Lourdes Inc. (Appellee).

         On December 21, 2015, Appellee answered the suit denying all allegations specifically stating that it had no notice of any condition which allegedly caused Appellant to slip and fall, a requirement for a finding of fault under La.R.S. 9:2800.6(B). After the parties had adequate time to conduct discovery on the issues present in this case, on May 25, 2017, Appellee filed a motion for summary judgment. It was based on the assertion that Appellant could not meet her burden to prove at trial that Appellee created the alleged hazardous condition or had actual or constructive notice of the condition and failed to exercise reasonable care.

         In support of its motion, Appellee submitted the deposition testimony of Appellant who admitted that she did not know where the substance came from or for how long it was there. Further, Appellee submitted affidavits from multiple hospital employees that attested to no reports of spills or water on the floor the day of the alleged fall and to no reports or records of substances on the floor from any maintenance issues that day. Finally, Appellee submitted affidavits that the floors in that area were cleaned twice daily per housekeeping regulations and that all hospital employees monitor the floors and are to report any potential hazards.

         Appellant did not respond to Appellee's motion until a few days before the hearing was scheduled by filing a motion for leave of court to supplement and amend her petition and by filing a motion for a continuance. On the same day these requests were made by the Appellant, the trial court denied the requests. The next day, the Friday before the hearing which was scheduled the following Monday morning, Appellant filed an opposition to Appellee's motion for summary judgment.

         Appellee's counsel attended the Monday hearing while Appellant's counsel did not. After considering the pleadings and evidence submitted, the trial court granted Appellee's motion. Appellant filed the present appeal and presents two issues for this court to review.

         ISSUES ...


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