Comparative Fault is Allocated Prior to Imposition of Louisiana’s Statutory Medical Malpractice Damages Cap

In Hall v. Brookshire Brothers, Ltd., 02-2404 (La.6/27/03), 848 So.2d 559, the Louisiana Supreme Court held that the proper method for applying the comparative fault scheme is to apply the jury’s comparative fault finding prior to reducing the damages award to the cap on damages under La. R.S. 40:1299.42(B)(1). The Court based its holding on three primary grounds, finding that comparative fault percentages should be allocated prior to application of the statutory damages cap under the Medical Malpractice Act because: (1) the use of different language in the comparative fault article and statutory damages cap provision dictates this result; (2) the comparative fault and Medical Malpractice Act damages cap provisions are in derogation of established rights and must be strictly construed; and (3) a contrary rule would lead to absurd consequences.

See also Miller v. LAMMICO, 2007-1352 (La.1/16/08), 973 So.2d 693, 702-03, 705, confirming that the Hall holding is not limited to circumstances in which the plaintiff is comparatively at fault.

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