Psychiatric Hospital’s Negligent Supervision of Employee Was Malpractice But Vicarious Liability for Employee’s Rape of Patient Was Not

A psychiatric hospital’s alleged negligent supervision of a patient who was raped by a hospital employee constituted medical malpractice within the meaning of the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act (MMA), and was therefore properly dismissed on an exception of prematurity because the claim was not first presented to a medical review panel.


However, the MMA definition of malpractice includes only unintentional or negligent acts or omissions, and rape is an intentional act. Therefore, the hospital’s alleged vicarious liability for the rape under a theory of respondeat superior did not fall under the MMA so was not required to first be presented to a medical review panel.


The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal without prejudice of the negligence claim, for review by a medical review panel before commencement of the case. Dismissal of the claim alleging vicarious liability for the intentional act of rape was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings. Buford v. Williams, 2012 WL 469871 (La.App. 5 Cir.  Feb 14, 2012) (not designated for publication).