Premises liability suit circumvents medical malpractice law

Alejandro de los Rios Sep. 29, 2010, 12:15pm

A former Tulane University Hospital Center (TUHC) patient has filed a premises liability suit against the hospital and is arguing that it is not subject to medical malpractice laws in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Metairie attorney Bradford Walker filed a petition for damages on behalf of Orleans resident Ralph Goodrich. The suit claims that, while undergoing treatment for a seizure disorder at TUHC, Goodrich was left unattended and injured himself when he had a seizure returning to his bed from the bathroom.

The suit claims that the accident, which occurred in June 2009, was a result of defective premises and "not an action of malpractice."

The suit claims the hospital is liable for the fall which injured Goodrich's and required him to undergo surgery to place a piece of hip bone into his shoulder.

The suit claims Goodrich "experienced constant pain since the date of the fall."

He has also filed a claim with the Louisiana Patience Compensation Fund to receive malpractice reimbursement.

New Orleans attorneys Peter Sperling and Christine Guillory are representing the defense.

On Aug. 9, they filed a motion for exception of prematurity. They argue that, "nowhere in the plaintiff's petition is it alleged that the statutory Medical Review Panel has been convened and concluded" as required by Louisiana medical malpractice law.

In their replay to the exception, plaintiff counsel argued that TUHC "is entitled to a Medical Review Panel solely with regard to the allegations of medical malpractice and not with regard to the allegations of general negligence."

Orleans Parish Judge Paulette Irons will hear arguments for and against the exception Oct. 7.

Orleans Parish Case 2010-05757

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