Louisiana Medical Malpractice Cap on Damages – Multiple Caps

In Turner v. Massiah, 94-2548 (La.8/30/95), 656 So.2d 636, the Louisiana Supreme Court stated: “If the damage, or injury, could have been divided into two parts, one part caused by one defendant and the other part caused by the other there would have been, in effect, two injuries,” 656 So.2d at 640, and suggested “the question of two caps [under La. R.S. 40:1299.42B(1), Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act] might have been present.” The Turner court then concluded, “[f]or one patient and one injury there is but one cap.” 656 So.2d at 641.

In Batson v. South Louisiana Medical Center, 99-0232 (La.11/19/99) 750 So.2d 949, the Louisiana Supreme Court held that three separate caps applied to three separate acts of medical negligence under the Malpractice Liability for State Services Act (MLSSA), La.R.S. 40:1299.39, et seq., where the damages were divisible into three different injuries, each traceable to a separate act of medical negligence.

It is important to note the differences in the language used in the MLSSA and the MMA. The MLSSA limits recovery to $500,00 for “the injury ” for ” an alleged act of malpractice.” See La. R.S. 40:1299.39(F). The use of singular nouns in the MLSSA contrasts with the use of plural nouns in the MMA, which limits to $500,000 the amount recoverable “for all malpractice claims for injuries to or death of a patient…” La. R.S. 40:1299.42 B(1).