Medical malpractice claims governed by the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act originate with the filing of a request for review of the medical malpractice claim by a Medical Review Panel. The request for review must be filed with the Louisiana Division of Administration and shall contain, at a minimum, all of the following:
(i) A request for the formation of a medical review panel.
(ii) The name of only one patient for whom, or on whose behalf, the request for review is being filed; however, if the claim involves the care of a pregnant mother and her unborn child, then naming the mother as the patient shall be sufficient.
(iii) The names of the claimants.
(iv) The names of the defendant health care providers.
(v) The dates of the alleged malpractice.
(vi) A brief description of the alleged malpractice as to each named defendant health care provider.
(vii) A brief description of the alleged injuries.
At issue in Coulon v. Endurance Risk Partners, 2016-1146 (La.3/15/2017), was how specific the “brief description of the alleged malpractice” had to be for the Medical Review Panel to consider and conclude whether the healthcare provider was entitled to the protections and limitations of the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act. Recognizing the history of the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act favoring a layman plaintiff’s access to medical expertise as a filtering or pre-screening process against frivolous and worthless claims, the Louisiana Supreme Court held that “a brief description of the alleged malpractice” means exactly what it says and that broad allegations of medical malpractice against the health care provider in the request for review of a malpractice claim satisfy the requirements of the Act and will encompass more specific allegations of medical malpractice made later in the post-panel petition for damages filed with the court.