Legal Memorandum: Exceptions in Potential Class Actions in LA

Issue: What peremptory exceptions are potentially available to for a defendant prior to trial in a potential class action matter?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Peremptory exceptions; Class action matter; Discovery rule
Jurisdiction: Louisiana
Cited Cases: 392 So. 2d 436; 3 F.3d 850; 607 So. 2d 532; 865 So. 2d 49; 880 So. 2d 225; 926 So. 2d 30; 734 So. 2d 63; 715 F.2d 971; 309 So. 2d 144; 418 So. 2d 531; 455 U.S. 363; 442 U.S. 140; 686 So. 2d 23; 449 U.S. 250
Cited Statutes: La. CCP art. 927; art. 927(B), art. 928(B), art. 1153
Date: 08/01/2011

Under La. CCP art. 927, the following peremptory exceptions are available: 

1.      Prescription;

2.      Peremption;

3.      Res judicata;

4.      Nonjoinder of a party under Article 641 and 642;

5.      No cause of action;

6.      No right of action, or no interest in the plaintiff to institute the suit; and

7.      Discharge in bankruptcy.

These peremptory exceptions can be made at any time before the case is submitted for trial, and prescription must be specially pleaded by the defendant.   La. CCP arts. 927(B), 928(B).  Additionally, the court may entertain dispositive motions, including motions for summary judgment, before the class certification hearing, since a “decision on the merits may render all class certification issues moot.”  Clark v. Shackelford Farms P’ship, 880 So. 2d 225, 228 (La. Ct. App. 2d Cir. 2004).  The court may not, however, consider the merits of the action in making a decision whether to certify a class.  Id. For this reason, it may be advisable to file any peremptory exceptions early in the process, before pre-certification discovery and a certification hearing are scheduled. 

In Louisiana, the liberative prescriptive period for constitutional and delictual claims is one year from the date the injury or damage is sustained.  La. Civ. Code art. 3492.  “[W]hen the petition on its face reveals the plaintiff’s claim […]

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