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Law School Case Brief

Picone v. Lyons - 601 So. 2d 1375 (La. 1992)

Rule:

There is no prescription other than that established by legislation. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 3457. The common law doctrine of laches does not prevail in Louisiana and the legislature may create, shorten, lengthen or abolish prescriptive periods at its discretion.

Facts:

Plaintiff employee filed a suit against officers of several of his former employers claiming that he contracted silicosis working as a sandblaster. Twelve years later, he amended his complaint to name manufacturers of protective devices used by his employers, claiming that the manufacturers were solidary obligors with the original defendants. The manufacturers filed an exception of prescription. The trial court ruled in favor of the manufacturer. Plaintiff sought review.

Issue:

Are the manufacturers entitled to an exception of prescription under La. Civ. Code Ann.?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court held that there was no doctrine of laches applied to tort suits in Louisiana. The court ruled that under La. Civ. Code Ann. arts. 3492, 3466, 3462, 1799, 2324, 3463, and 3503 the filing suit against solidary obligors interrupted prescription against all other solidary obligors, and the interruption continued while the suit was pending. The court held that allowing interruption of prescription against the manufacturers after 12 years did not per se violate U.S. Const. amend. XIV.

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