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Trahan v. Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 27, 2019

NORMAN PAUL TRAHAN, SR., INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE OF KATHY ELIZABETH TRAHAN
v.
LEONARD J. CHABERT MEDICAL CENTER L/B/N/ SOUTHERN REGIONAL MEDICAL CORPORATION, CHABERT OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY, LLC, OCHSNER CLINIC FOUNDATION, DR. JOHN F. ENGLE, GRACE NAQUIN, ELIZABETH ROBICHAUX, MICHELLE LANDRY DUPRE, CLAIRE TRICHE-TABOR, STEPHEN J. FOURNIER, BLAINE COTTON, TONYA K. LEBOEUF, SHALETHA WILLIAMS, DR. GEORGE D. GROVE, DR. LEE ARCEMENT, AND XXX INSURANCE COMPANY AND/OR COMPANIES

          On Appeal from the 32nd Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of Terrebonne State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 182, 841 Honorable David W. Arceneaux, Judge Presiding

          Norman Paul Trahan, Sr. Lafayette, LA Plaintiff -Appellant, In Proper Person

          Stephanie D. O' Brien Assistant Attorney General New Orleans Attorney for Defendants -Appellees, John F. Engle, M.D., George D. Grove, M.D., Lee Arcement, M.D.

          Brittany K. Sloan Attorneys for Defendants -Appellees, Peter E. Sperling Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center 1/ b/n, Naidra T. Colon Southern Regional Medical Corporation, D. Burke Stough Chabert Operational Management Company, New Orleans, LA LLC, Grace Naquin, Elizabeth Robichaux, Michelle Landry -Dupre, Claire Triche- Tabor, Blaine Cotton, Tonya K. LeBoeuf and Stephen J. Fournier

          James P. Waldron Attorney for Defendant -Appellee, New Orleans, LA Ochsner Clinic Foundation

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, PENZATO, AND LANIER, JJ.

          HIGGINBOTHAM, J.

In this medical malpractice, wrongful death matter, plaintiff, Norman Paul Trahan, Sr., appeals the judgment of the trial court sustaining peremptory exceptions raising the objection of no right of action in favor of numerous defendants.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On May 2, 2018, Mr. Trahan filed individually, and as a personal representative on behalf of the estate of Kathy Elizabeth Trahan, a Petition for Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death, Fraud in Concealment, and Damages. In his petition, Mr. Trahan contends that his sister, Kathy Trahan, was misdiagnosed and physically harmed during a hospital stay at Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center resulting in an infection, sepsis, a heart attack, and Kathy's eventual death on May 10, 2017. Mr. Trahan named numerous defendants[1] contending that the treatment they provided to Kathy breached the standard of care. In conjunction with his petition, Mr. Trahan filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis.

         In response, the defendants filed, among other things, exceptions of no right of action.[2] In their exceptions, the defendants pointed out that Mr. Trahan acknowledged in his petition that his and Kathy's mother, Sybil Moosa Trahan (Mrs. Trahan), was still alive and therefore, the defendants contended that Mr. Trahan had no right of action for a survival action under La. Civ. Code art. 2315.1 or a wrongful death action under La. Civ. Code art. 2315.2. The exceptions came before the trial court for a hearing on September 7, 2018. After the hearing, the trial court signed a judgment on September 24, 2018, sustaining the defendants' exceptions of no right of action and revoking Mr. Trahan's pauper status. Mr. Trahan filed an application for supervisory writs from the September 24, 2018 judgment with this court. After review of Mr. Trahan's writ application, this court determined that the September 24, 2018 judgment was a final appealable judgment and granted Mr. Trahan's writ application for the limited purpose of remanding the matter to the trial court with instructions to grant an appeal to Mr. Trahan. This court also reversed the trial court's revocation of Mr. Trahan's pauper status. Thereafter, Mr. Trahan appealed from the September 24, 2018 judgment sustaining the defendants' exceptions of no right of action, raising several assignments of error.[3]

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         Mr. Trahan contends that the trial court erred in sustaining the defendants' exceptions of no right of action because Mrs. Trahan is in poor health, and his older brother, Mr. Michael David Trahan, who has power of attorney over their mother, signed an affidavit that gave Mr. Trahan the authority to act on behalf of their mother in certain litigation. Mr. Trahan also argues that he has a right of action to pursue his claims as the succession representative of Kathy's succession. Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.1 provides in pertinent part in a survival action:

A. If a person who has been injured by an offense or quasi offense dies, the right to recover all damages for injury to that person, his property or otherwise, caused by the offense or quasi offense, shall survive for a period of ...

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