Louisiana Professional Malpractice Liability Defense Law Firm
Our professional malpractice defense experience in Louisiana sets us apart for liability claims involving lawyers, real estate agents, architects, engineers and other design professionals, medical professionals, and brokers and property appraisers. We are a leader in this unique area of the law and are sought after to represent professionals and their insurers as well as the self-insured at trial, on appeal and before administrative panels such as the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board. The breadth and depth of our tort litigation experience across a wide range of industries and matters is another plus for clients. Because of this experience, we understand the cases and issues underlying malpractice claims and make these a strategic part of our defense plan. We also understand the stress that professional liability claims place on our clients, with their careers and reputations on the line, which drives our aggressive motion practice and interest in getting to an early and favorable resolution. We have years of courtroom experience defending professional malpractice claims, and have represented many professionals and their firms located locally and throughout the state and U.S. Our lawyers have dealt with a broad range of malpractice cases and issues, often involving claims of fraud, misrepresentation, gross negligence, bankruptcy and unfair trade practice, to include:
Recent Experience Highlights
Client Story: Supreme Court Win Establishing Mitigation Defense to Legal Malpractice Claims
Where we started: Our client was sued under allegations that his malpractice caused a rejection of a claim worth several million dollars. It was alleged that our client: failed to meet case deadlines, properly conduct discovery or to identify witnesses in preparation for trial. Our roadmap: After conducting necessary discovery, we filed a Motion for Summary Judgment based upon two arguments: 1) the plaintiff/client’s decision not to appeal acted as a bar to the malpractice claim; and 2) the plaintiff lacked evidence to demonstrate a breach in the standard of care. Resolution: In a seminal decision, the Louisiana Supreme Court in MB Industries LLC affirmed the dismissal of our client and established that a legal malpractice claimant forfeits their claim if they fail to take reasonable steps to protect their interests or unreasonably fail to appeal an adverse judgment. MB Industries, LLC v. CNA Ins. Co., 11-0303 (La. 10/25/11), 74 So.3d 1173.
Client Story: Nonliability Established By Making New Law
Where we started: In the James Wayne matter, our attorney represented an indigent legal services agency sued by its terminated Executive Director for alleged violations of Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law. Our roadmap: The suit was dismissed on summary judgment based on argument that the law does not apply to non-governmental entities, not even quasi-public corporations. Resolution: The appellate decision upheld the dismissal, and made new law by holding that the Open Meetings Law never applies to corporations. James A. Wayne v. Capital Area Legal Services Corporation, 2013-2036 (La. App. 1 Cir. 5/2/14).
Client Story: Listing Agent Sued for Unfair Trade Practices
Where we started: Our client was a listing agent, who was sued for unfair trade practices based on an allegation that he deliberately misled the homebuyer about known hidden defects in the home, and discouraged a pre-closing inspection. Our roadmap: Our lawyers filed an exception of peremption, contending that the one year period for filing unfair trade practices claim was peremptive and therefore not subject to any form of interruption or suspension. Resolution: The suit was dismissed. Shawn Doyle matter, 22nd Judicial District Court, St. Tammany Parish.
Client Story: Successful Outcome for Engineer – Design Defect Claim Dismissed and Recovery of Unpaid Fees
Where we started: A national civil engineering firm provided site engineering services on a large mixed-use development in Baton Rouge. The firm stopped work because the developer failed to pay in full for its services. To counteract the engineer’s demand for unpaid services, the owner sued for $5 million, claiming design deficiencies. Our roadmap: We countersued for payment and filed a lien under the Private Works Act to protect the engineer’s rights. Virtually all consultants and contractors working on the development were entangled in litigation and payment disputes as the developer went into bankruptcy. Resolution: We obtained a summary judgment dismissing the $5 million lawsuit based on lack of expert evidence and obtained payment for our client’s services under a bond that had unknowingly been posted to cancel the lien before the developer’s financial troubles began.
Client Story: Favorable Settlement for Architect in Major Suit Involving Water Intrusion
Where we started: Keogh Cox represented an architect in a suit by a public university against multiple parties, including the developer, design firms and contractors. The claims involved significant water intrusion in a newly constructed student housing complex, and separate insurance and FEMA claims related to hurricane damage. The dispute involved multiple suits and arbitrations in more than one state and in federal court, and two dozen experts retained by the various parties. Our roadmap: We worked with other counsel whose clients’ interests were aligned with ours to obtain a stay of the litigation proceedings against the designers and develop joint defenses and rebuttal to the experts reports, to be used in mediation. Resolution: We obtained a favorable settlement as the result of a joint mediation of all parties in the dispute – before any formal discovery in our suit and before having to retain our own experts.
Client Story: Summary Judgment Obtained on Behalf of Physical Therapist
Where we started: The patient filed suit against his treating physician and a physical therapist claiming failure to timely diagnose a disc herniation that resulted in permanent neurological damage. Our roadmap: We obtained medical records and physical therapy records to evaluate the claim. The client’s physical therapist was deposed as was the defendant treating physician. It was established that the client promptly alerted the treating physician and made proper recommendations when she learned of the patient’s complaints of lower extremity symptoms. Resolution: Summary judgment was obtained on behalf of the physical therapist. The court concluded the client did not breach the standard of care.
More Details about Professional Liability
Representing other professionals against malpractice claims is an area of the law that our lawyers take seriously and personally. As a result, we have taken a special interest in the unique aspects and rules of professional liability law. We have provided counsel in several reported cases and a major Louisiana Supreme Court ruling touching on a wide variety of professional malpractice issues. See our individual practice areas to read more.
Louisiana Litigation Blog
02.15.16 Fourth Circuit Brings Clarity to Peremption Statute in Suit Against Design Professional