Louisiana Supreme Court Applies Discovery Rule to Interrupt Medical Malpractice Prescription

The Louisiana Supreme Court issued the following Per Curiam opinion in Williamson v. Hebert, 10-0071 (La. 4/5/10), regarding the interruption of prescription in a medical malpractice case based on the discovery rule:

“In Campo v. Correa, 01-2707 (La. 6/21/02), 828 So. 2d 502, 511, we explained ‘a plaintiff’s mere apprehension that something may be wrong is insufficient to commence the running of prescription, unless the plaintiff knew or should have known through the exercise of reasonable diligence that his problem may have been caused by acts of malpractice.’ Plaintiff in the instant case clearly had some apprehension something was wrong following her surgery, as she consulted two different doctors regarding her condition. However, both of these doctors assured plaintiff her condition would continue to improve, with one of the doctors indicating her symptoms might take two years to resolve. When plaintiff’s symptoms failed to improve by August 2002 (two years after the August 3, 2000 surgery), plaintiff performed computer research, and learned for the first time her symptoms may have been caused by malpractice. Plaintiff’s August 16, 2002 complaint was filed within one year of her discovery of this alleged malpractice.”

The Louisiana Supreme Court granted plaintiff’s writ and reversed the decision of the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal. The judgment of the district court denying the defendant’s exception of prescription was reinstated and the case remanded to the district court for further proceedings. This is a huge victory for victims of medical malpractice who prudently wait to see if their condition will improve before rushing to file a medical malpractice claim that might otherwise be frivolous.

If you or a loved on has been the victim of medical malpractice and sustained serious injuries or a wrongful death, contact the experienced Baton Rouge, Louisiana medical malpractice attorneys at Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews. Email Louisiana injury lawyers or call (800) 929-7481 to schedule a free consultation.