FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2017-04164,
DIVISION "E" Honorable Melvin C. Zeno, Judge.
Rouzan Dana Henry DON A. ROUZAN & ASSOCIATES, LLC COUNSEL
William David Coffey ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL LOUISIANA
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE LITIGATION DIVISION COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Rosemary Ledet,
Judge Tiffany G. Chase.
Tiffany G. Chase Judge.
and Melvin George, (hereinafter "plaintiffs"), seek
review of the trial court's October 1, 2018 judgment
sustaining the Board of Supervisors of Southern University
and Agricultural and Mechanical College's, (hereinafter
"Board of Supervisors"), exception of insufficiency
of service of process. After consideration of the record
before this court and the applicable law, we reverse the
decision of the trial court sustaining the exception of
insufficiency of service of process.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
underlying claim in this matter involves injuries plaintiff
Rose George allegedly suffered as a result of fainting while
inside a facility located on the campus of Southern
University New Orleans on June 25, 2016. Plaintiffs filed a
petition for damages on May 2, 2017, naming Southern
University New Orleans and ABC Insurance Company as
defendants. Plaintiffs contemporaneously requested service on
Southern University New Orleans, at its principle place of
business, through the Chancellor's Office. Southern
University New Orleans was served with the original petition
for damages on May 15, 2017.
January 24, 2018, plaintiffs filed a request for leave to
file a first amended and supplemental petition for damages,
which was granted by the trial court on February 1, 2018.
Plaintiffs sought to add, as defendants to the litigation,
the Board of Supervisors of Southern University and
Agricultural and Mechanical College; State of Louisiana; and
Southern University System. On the same date, service of the
original and first amended and supplemental petitions for
damages was requested on (1) the Board of Supervisors,
Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College,
through the Office of the Attorney General (service
effectuated on February 2, 2018); (2) Southern University
System Office of the Chancellor, through the Office of the
Attorney General (service effectuated on February 2, 2018);
(3) Office of the Chancellor, Southern University New Orleans
(service effectuated on February 20, 2018); (4) State of
Louisiana Office of Risk Management (service effectuated on
February 8, 2018); and (5) State of Louisiana Office of the
Attorney General (service effectuated on February 5, 2018).
Board of Supervisors filed an exception of insufficiency of
service of process on December 14, 2017. A hearing on the
exception was held on August 10, 2018, and by judgment dated
October 1, 2018, the trial court sustained the Board of
Supervisors' exception dismissing plaintiffs' case
without prejudice. The judgment was designated a final
judgment and this appeal followed.
present the following assignments of error: (1) the trial
court erred in granting the Board of Supervisors'
exception of insufficiency of service of process and (2) the
trial court erred in dismissing their case rather than
allowing an opportunity to cure the service defect.
court's judgment dismissing a matter for failure to
timely request service is reviewed under a manifest error
standard of review. Llopis v. Louisiana State Bd. of
Dentistry, 2013-0659, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/11/14), 143
So.3d 1211, 1214.
acknowledge that service upon the Attorney General, Office of
Risk Management and Board of Supervisors was requested more
than 90-days after the filing of the original petition for
damages. However, they argue the trial court erred in
granting defendant's exception of insufficiency of
service of process because service on the primary defendant,
Southern University New Orleans, was requested through the
Chancellor's Office within 90-days of commencement of the
action. Plaintiffs also maintain that service was requested
on the Attorney General, Office of Risk Management and Board