Today, the Louisiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the LeBlanc v. Thomas case that challenges the legality of the LSU Health Sciences Center decision to shutter Charity Hospital without approval of the legislature after guardsmen and doctors decontaminated the facility and readied it for business just weeks after the federal levee failure in fall 2005.
Attorneys for the defendants argued for a change in venue so that the eventual trial is held in East Baton Rouge, where LSU is located, instead of in New Orleans where the actions to close Charity took place.
Overcoming a false fire alarm that interrupted his argument, Leonard Aragon effectively articulated the plaintiff's position that "cause of action" was in New Orleans and compelled the justices to rule to keep the case in Orleans Parish. In other words, because the four essential elements of the case - that Charity was open in New Orleans, that the Chancellor of LSUHSC decided to close Charity in New Orleans, that the Chancellor sent agents to physically close the hospital in New Orleans, and that legislative approval was not sought in Baton Rouge - trump the opposite argument that the suit should move to East Baton Rouge Parish to accommodate state officials or agencies that may become involved in the suit at a later date. Since, at past hearings, defense lawyers decided against disputing those four elements, they are treated as fact for the purposes of the venue argument. Read More