This state court action is a companion case to CRR’s federal court action against a Louisiana civil liability law that allows abortion providers to be sued for every single abortion they perform. See our federal case, Hope Medical Group for Women v. Lorraine LeBlanc >,
Filing date: 07/23/2007
Plaintiff(s): Brittany Prudhome
Center Attorney(s): Stephanie Toti, Bonnie Scott Jones, Michelle Movahed, Rebecca Hart
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Allison A. Jones, Esq., William E. Rittenberg, Esq.
Summary: CRR and local attorney Allison Jones represent K.P., M.D. in seeking to dismiss this malpractice action against her until after the plaintiff’s claim has been reviewed by a malpractice review panel. Such review is required prior to the filing of any medical malpractice action in Louisiana state court, according to the state’s scheme of medical malpractice reforms (which also includes caps on damages, caps on the liability of individual physicians and the opportunity for physicians to participate in a state-run medical malpractice insurance fund). K.P. denies the allegations of malpractice and believes that a malpractice panel will agree that no malpractice occurred. However, the State recently has taken the position that abortion-related claims are not governed by the medical malpractice reform laws.
The State claims that abortion providers cannot take advantage of the malpractice reform protections because of a Louisiana statue that allows an abortion patient (and certain other people) to sue a physician for “damage” to the patient or the fetus “occasioned” by an abortion, regardless of whether or not the physician committed malpractice. CRR is challenging the constitutionality of that “Strict Liability Statute” in our related federal court action, Hope Medical Group for Women v. Lorraine LeBlanc. In this state case, we argue that the State’s application of the Strict Liability Statute to Prudhome’s malpractice action is contrary to state law, and that the action should therefore be dismissed until the required review panel has been convened.
After CRR filed their related federal action, the State agreed to convene a medical review panel to consider Ms. Prudhome’s claims, but it took the unusual step of reserving its right to assert later in court that Prudhome’s claims fall outside the scope of the State’s medical malpractice regime. The panel review process is underway, and further steps in this lawsuit are on hold pending completion of the medical review panel.