December 12th, 2022
Louisiana Supreme Court Opinions
George v. Progressive Waste Solutions of Louisiana, et al.
Opinion Date: December 9, 2022
Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Personal Injury
Plaintiff Walter George was standing at the roadside of his home in Houma, Louisiana, at the same time defendant Progressive Waste Solutions of La., Inc. (“Progressive”) was picking up garbage on plaintiff’s street. While plaintiff was picking remnants of garbage left behind, he was struck by the hydraulic arm of a garbage truck and sustained injuries. Plaintiff and his wife Janie petitioned for damages against Progressive and ABC Insurance Company. Champion Medical Center entered into a “Professional Service Agreement” (“agreement”) with Ascendant Healthcare (“company”), which identified itself in this agreement as being in “the business of arranging for the provision of professional medical services to persons whose health care costs are paid by liability insurance companies and/or attorneys that enter into arrangements with [Ascendant] for the provision of such services....” The agreement also stated that “[p]rovider agrees and hereby appoints Company as its agent for purposes of filing a medical lien for the services rendered by Provider. Plaintiff’s former counsel at the law firm of Spagnoletti & Company executed a “Letter of Guaranty and Protection.” The document, signed by Marcus Spagnoletti only, identified “the undersigned attorney and law firm” as the “GUARANTOR,” “ASCENDANT HEALTHCARE, LLC” as the “Company,” and the patient as Walter George (who received medical treatment resulting from an “ACCIDENT” in 2015). After the parties engaged in initial discovery, defendant Progressive filed a Motion in Limine on March 10, 2020, seeking to exclude or strike the medical bills related to plaintiff’s surgery and charged to Ascendant Healthcare. Defendant asserted the collateral source rule did not apply for these charges because they were "simply amounts charged," and plaintiff has not diminished his patrimony in order to receive his medical care. The motion was ultimately granted, but the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed. "In the absence of any evidence that plaintiff is not liable for the full billed medical charges in this matter, defendant cannot benefit from any reduction as a result of the subject medical factoring agreement." The matter was remanded for further proceedings.
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