Court dismisses malpractice suit against LSU Health Sciences physician

By Karen Kidd | Feb 18, 2019

NEW ORLEANS – A federal judge recently dismissed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a Louisiana State University Health Sciences physician who allegedly failed to properly diagnose a patient's complaints of chest pains in 2013.

In her 10-page order and reasons issued Feb. 11, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown, on the bench in Louisiana's Eastern District, granted a motion by the physician, Heather Lavoie, and dismissed the case file by Mario Hurst.

Lavoie, an associate professor of medicine at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, asked the court to dismiss Hurst's suit, saying it was prescribed under state and federal law, had already been decided by state courts and that Hurst failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

"Because it appears beyond dispute that plaintiff's claim has prescribed and there are no facts plaintiff could prove in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief, the court will grant defendant's motion to dismiss," Brown said in her order.

Hurst's allegations against Lavoie stem from his visit with the physician in May 2013 in which he was sent away without treatment regarding his complaints about chest pains, according to background portions of Brown's order.

"Plaintiff avers that defendant's failure to properly diagnose and treat his pain is a violation of his due process rights," the order said. "Plaintiff asserts that he became aware of this alleged violation when he began to experience severe chest pain on Jan. 1, 2015."

The following July, Hurst filed a negligence lawsuit against Lavoie in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

In May 2017, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court ruling to grant an exception of prescription filed by Lavoie because Hurst filed his medical malpractice complaint more than one year after the act of malpractice allegedly occurred.

Hurst filed his most recent case against Lavoie in June, alleging 14th Amendment violations of the "physical injustification and harassment in life and liberty."

The June filing was still too late to prevent prescription in his most recent case, Brown said in her order.

"Assuming that the prescriptive period began to run on Jan. 1, 2015, when plaintiff allegedly discovered the injury, plaintiff's claims have prescribed because he filed the instant case over three years later," the order said.

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Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

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