In Watson v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., 469 So.2d 967, 972 (La. 1985), the Louisiana Supreme Court set forth numerous factors to assist the trier of fact in comparing fault between multiple parties. These factors include:
- Whether the conduct resulted from inadvertence or involved an awareness of danger;
- The risk created by the conduct;
- The significance of what was sought by the conduct
- The capacities of the actors, whether superior or inferior; and,
- Any extenuating circumstances which might require the actor to proceed in haste without proper thought.
The recent decision in Williams v. Walgreen Louisiana, Co. Inc., 14-716 (La. App. 5 Cir. 2/25/15) applies the Watson factors under interesting facts. In Williams, the plaintiff alleged a severe medical reaction, including multiple strokes, when the pharmacist gave the wrong prescription to her son who went to the pharmacy to purchase the prescription. Instead of her typical blood pressure medication, the plaintiff was given Zyprexa, a potent anti-psychotic medication. The bottle’s label identified the medication and described the patient as someone other than the plaintiff. The Court held that the law required the plaintiff to review the bottle’s label prior to ingestion.
Under these facts, the Appellate Court upheld the following allocation of fault: Walgreen (60%), plaintiff (35%) and plaintiff’s son (5%).