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Sawyers v. Naomi Heights Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center, L.L.C.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

August 21, 2019

YEVONNE SAWYERS, ET AL.
v.
NAOMI HEIGHTS NURSING HOME & REHABILITATION CENTER, L.L.C., ET AL.

          ON APPLICTION FOR SUPERVISORY WRIT FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO. 255, 006 F HONORABLE GEORGE C. METOYER, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Brent P. Frederick Michael T. Beckers Danielle N. Goren Frederick & Beckers, LLC COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/RESPONDENTS: Yevonne Sawyers, Individually and on behalf of Cecilia Sullivan Patricia Hall, Individually and on behalf of Cecilia Sullivan

          Walter F. Clawson COUNSEL FOR RELATOR: Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund Oversight Board

          Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, John E. Conery, and Van H. Kyzar, Judges.

          JOHN E. CONERY JUDGE

         Relators, the Louisiana Patients' Compensation Fund and the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Oversight Board, seek a supervisory writ from the judgment of the Ninth Judicial District Court, Parish of Rapides, the Honorable George Clarence Metoyer, Jr., presiding, which denied Relators' motion in limine. We deny the writ, finding no abuse of discretion.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This case involves a medical malpractice wrongful death and survival action filed by Plaintiffs, Yevonne Sawyers and Patricia Hall, individually and on behalf of their deceased mother, Cecilia Sullivan. Plaintiffs alleged that Ms. Sullivan received substandard medical care from Naomi Heights Nursing and Development Center, L.L.C. (Naomi Heights), and Guardian Hospice Care, L.L.C. (Guardian Hospice), ultimately resulting in the development of a chronic decubitus ulcer, Stage IV, and sepsis, resulting in her prolonged suffering and ultimately death. Following periods of admissions to the hospital for treatment of her conditions, Ms. Sullivan was transferred to another facility for palliative care on November 6, 2013, and she died on November 16, 2013.

         Prior to her transfer from Naomi Heights, and prompted by Plaintiffs, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) conducted an unannounced investigation of the nursing home on July 26, 2013. That investigation resulted in Naomi Heights being cited for various deficient practices in violation of federal and state regulations for nursing homes. DHH also conducted an unannounced investigation of Guardian Hospice on August 21, 2013. It cited Guardian Hospice for the failure to coordinate with the nursing home for the proper care of a patient who had developed a pressure sore, in violation of state and federal regulations. Plaintiffs contend that both Naomi Heights and Guardian Hospice have admitted the deficiencies contained in the DHH reports.

         Relators filed the motion in limine under review seeking to have Plaintiffs prohibited from introducing into the record or making any reference to any records which DHH has on Ms. Sullivan or any DHH complaint surveys conducted during the time when Ms. Sullivan was a resident of Naomi Heights and Guardian Hospice, "including but not limited to the period of April 10, 2013, to November 6, 2013." Following a hearing, the trial court denied Relators' motion in limine, thus allowing admission of the records at trial

         As "[a]n interlocutory judgment is appealable only when expressly provided by law[, ]" Relators now seek review of that ruling by this application for supervisory writ. La.Code Civ.P. art. 2083(C). See La.Code Civ.P. art. 1841. See also Lalla v. Calamar, N.V., 08-0952 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/11/09), 5 So.3d 927.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         1. The Trial Court erred in denying [Relators'] Motion in Limine seeking to exclude various DHH Surveys/Reports.

         LAW ...


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