Fecke v. Bd. of Supervisors Louisiana St. Univ. & Agricultural & Mech. CollegeAnnotate this Case
Plaintiffs Brandy Fecke, and her parents Stephen and Karen Fecke, and the defendant, the Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College (“LSU Board”), sought review of the court of appeal’s judgment. In 2008, Brandy, a 23-year-old, senior at LSU, went to an indoor rock climbing facility located at the LSU Recreation Center (“Rec Center”) to fulfill a compulsory rock climbing assignment for an Outdoor Living Skills Activity course. Upon arrival, Brandy executed the “Rock Wall Participation Agreement” required by LSU. After instruction and a climbing demonstration by the Rec Center employees, Brandy successfully climbed the wall. While descending, however, she fell, landing on her left foot and fractured the talus bone in her ankle. As a result of the injury, Brandy underwent three surgeries and required additional surgery, including either a permanent ankle fusion or ankle replacement. The Feckes filed a petition for damages against the LSU Board. Following a trial, the jury found the LSU Board 75% and Brandy 25% at fault, and awarded Brandy total damages of $1,925,392.72, and Karen Fecke $50,000.00 for loss of consortium. The LSU Board appealed. The Court of Appeal reversed in part, amended in part, and affirmed as amended the trial court judgment. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to interpret specific provisions within the Louisiana Governmental Claims Act, including La. Rev. Stat. 39:1533.22, and to resolve three issues: (1) whether plaintiff was entitled to legal interest on an award for future medical care paid directly to the health care provider from the Future Medical Care Fund (“FMCF”); (2) whether plaintiff was entitled to recover attorney’s fees and costs from an award for future medical care prior to its placement into the FMCF; and (3) whether plaintiff, who was unemployed at the time of the injury, was entitled to recover the loss of future earnings. After review, the Supreme Court held: a plaintiff who is awarded future medical care pursuant to La. Rev. Stat. 13:5106(B)(3)(c) was not entitled to legal interest on the award and could not recover attorney’s fees or costs from the award prior to its placement into the FMCF. Furthermore, the Court held that a plaintiff who was unemployed at the time of the injury could recover the loss of future earnings, as defined in La. Rev. Stat. 13:5106(D)(2).