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Donelon v. Shilling

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

February 28, 2019

JAMES J. DONELON, COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE FOR THE STATE OF LOUISIANA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS REHABILITATOR OF LOUISIANA HEALTH COOPERATIVE, INC.
v.
TERRY S. SHILLING, GEORGE G. CROMER, WARNER L. THOMAS, IV, WILLIAM A. OLIVER, CHARLES D. CALVI, PATRICK C. POWERS, CGI TECHNOLOGIES AND SOLUTIONS, INC., GROUP RESOURCES INCORPORATED, BEAM PARTNERS, LLC, MILLIMAN, INC., BUCK CONSULTANTS, LLC, AND TRAVELERS CASUALTY AND SURETY COMPANY OF AMERICA

          On review from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Case No. 651, 069 The Honorable Timothy E. Kelley

          James A. Brown Mirais M. Holden A' Dair R. Flynt New Orleans, Louisiana Attorneys for Applicant -Relator Buck Consultants, LLC

          Jamie D. Rhymes Lafayette, Louisiana J. E. Cullens, Jr. Edward J. Walters, Jr. Darrel J. Papillion David Abboud Thomas Jennifer Wise Moroux Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Respondent, James J. Donelon, Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Louisiana, in His Capacity as Rehabilitator of Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc., through His Duly Appointed Receiver, Billy Bostick

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, and PENZATO, JJ.

          HOLDRIDGE, J.

         In this writ application, applicant, Buck Consultants, LLC ("Buck"), challenges the ruling of the trial court, which overruled Buck's Declinatory Exception of Improper Venue.[1] For the following reasons, we affirm the ruling of the trial court.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This matter arises from the insolvency and the rehabilitation of Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc. ("LAHC"). On March 31, 2014, Buck tendered a letter agreement ("Agreement") to LAHC, outlining the terms of its engagement with LAHC to provide certain actuarial and consulting services. The Agreement states, in pertinent part, as follows:

1. Services. In consideration for, and subject to, the mutual undertakings set forth herein, [Buck] agrees to provide the Services described in Exhibit A hereto.
9. Miscellaneous. ... The parties hereto expressly agree that this Agreement will be construed and enforced in accordance with the internal laws of the State of New York, without regard to New York choice of law provisions. The parties hereby consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the federal and state courts situated in and for the State of New York, County of New York with respect to any dispute arising between the parties, regardless of whether such dispute arises pursuant to this Agreement or otherwise. ...

         A representative of LAHC signed the Agreement on April 4, 2014. Exhibit A to the Agreement outlined Buck's scope of services as follows:

• Review current plan designs and calculate the Average Benefit Value for each plan
• Review previous documents filed with [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] for the 2014 rates
• Review current demographics and adjust rates to reflect population enrolled
• Develop cost models to prepare 2015 rates for Public Exchange
• Adjust rates to reflect network discounts
• Prepare rates by Region
• Prepare smoke[r] and non-smoker rates
• Present target rates for review and revision
• Adjust plan designs to meet market ...

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