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The subsequent discovery by a claimant that an injury was more serious than initially believed does not entitle the claimant to rescind the settlement and release agreement. La. Civ. Code Ann. arts. 3071, 3079, 3083. Article 3083 specifically provides that when parties settle disputes, issues that arise subsequent to the settlement do not give rise to grounds for rescission, unless the issues were purposely concealed by one of the parties to the settlement agreement.
A vehicle operated by Patricia Robbert was rear-ended by a vehicle owned and operated by Gretchen Carroll. Robbert was examined by two physicians and approximately two weeks after the accident, she entered into a monetary settlement of her claims and executed a release in favor of Gretchen Carroll and State Farm (“Relators”). After settling her claims, she became ill with a viral infection and developed a neck condition that she related to the automobile accident. Robbert filed suit against the Relators, seeking to rescind the settlement and release agreement on grounds that the agreement was entered into under duress and that she was deceived into signing it. In response to the petition, the Relators filed an exception of res judicata, which the trial court denied. The Relators sought supervisory writ review of the trial court's denial of their exception of res judicata.
Did the subsequent discovery of Robbert that she may have incurred more severe injuries as a result of the accident than she initially thought, give her grounds to rescind the agreement?
The court granted Relators' writ application based on their exception of res judicata. The court found that the language of the settlement and release agreement was clear and unambiguous and Robbert admitted that she read, understood, and signed the agreement. The court stated that she was not permitted to bypass her agreement with relators by claiming that she was illiterate or unsophisticated. Moreover, under La. Civ. Code Ann. arts. 3071, 3079, and 3083, just because Robbert subsequently learned that she may have incurred more severe injuries as a result of the accident than she initially thought, this alone did not give her grounds to rescind the agreement.