LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT DENIES WRIT IN COURVILLE CASE
NRRA and Allied Professionals Announce Amicus Victory with Prospect for Further
Support on Other Pending Case Before Louisiana Court of Appeals
ENCINO, Calif. – The Louisiana Supreme Court has now denied the petition for a writ of certiorari taken by plaintiffs in Courville vs. Allied Professionals Insurance Company and Rathman, essentially upholding the positive decision rendered by its court of appeals earlier this year in favor of Allied Professionals and NRRA.
A petition for a writ of certiorari is a request by a party that a higher court, frequently a “supreme” court, review the decision of a lower court to determine if it should “issue a writ,” meaning to order the lower court to send the case up for further review. When the court denies a writ, such has the effect of affirming the lower court decision.
“We are quite pleased by the Supreme Court’s decision to deny this writ, as this action confirms our earlier victory for the risk retention industry”, said Joe Deems, NRRA Executive Director. “We are also hopeful that this will inspire a similar result in our other pending amicus curiae petition in Ziegler & Inspeq. Services v. Housing Authority of New Orleans, where CPA Mutual Ins. Co. a Risk Retention Group, named as the liability insurance carrier for one of the defendants, was similarly dismissed by the trial court on almost identical issues to those of Courville. Because CPA Mutual is up on appeal by the plaintiff in a different district of the Louisiana court of appeals, the decision by the Supreme court in Courville should be at least instructive to the court in CPA Mutual, that the Supreme Court did not take any dispute with the reasoning of the Courville decision or panel.”
In the case, plaintiff Ronald Courville not only sued his chiropractor, Thomas Rathmann D.C., but also sued Dr. Rathmann’s insurance company, Allied Professionals Insurance Company, a Risk Retention Group (“APIC”). He named APIC under Louisiana’s Direct Action Statute. APIC moved to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act and under the LRRA.. The Louisiana Appellate Court also stated that it was following the reasoning in a 2014 decision in the federal District Court of Appeals in New York, Wadsworth v. Allied Professionals Insurance Company, holding that application of New York’s direction action statute would violate the LRRA. NRRA was “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) in both cases.
“This case follows a series of favorable decisions so far overruling direct action statutes and anti-arbitration statues,” said Mike Schroeder, Allied Chairman and General Counsel.. “When certain state laws unfavorably attempt to regulate the business of insurance for risk retention groups, those statutes are preempted by the federal law, as demonstrated by this and other recent decisions.”
“NRRA has worked closely with its members to vindicate their rights when they are unfairly and illegally infringed upon,” said NRRA Chairman, Dan Labrie. “We will continue to be diligent to guard against any attempts to improperly regulate this viable industry and we are glad that we could again contribute to some reliable legal decisions where risk retention groups can be more confident in their abilities and free of illegal state regulations.”