Judge blocks LSU’s attempt to remove foundation from operation of its Shreveport and Monroe hospitals _lowres

LSU System Executive Vice President Dr. Frank Opelka

LSU jumped the gun when it filed a lawsuit seeking to remove the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana from running the school’s Shreveport and Monroe hospitals under a privatization deal, a Baton Rouge judge ruled Thursday.

LSU had asked state District Judge Todd Hernandez to find the foundation in breach of its contract with the university and order BRF to withdraw as the hospitals’ manager.

But in his two-page ruling, Hernandez said it was LSU who failed to comply with portions of the cooperative endeavor agreement between the school and the foundation.

The judge said LSU “failed in its obligation under the contract to work collaboratively with the defendant to remedy the alleged public purpose breach.”

LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said the university “remains committed to addressing the serious problems detailed in the breach of contract lawsuit” and will restart the 45-day negotiation process to follow the procedure outlined in the cooperative endeavor agreement.

“Our goal now is to work collaboratively with LSU to continue to improve our joint mission of exemplary care and service to the community,” added BRF board Chairman Steve Skrivanos.

LSU chose the nonprofit BRF two years ago to manage the school’s two hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe as Gov. Bobby Jindal moved to turn over management of LSU hospitals throughout the state to private entities.

The BRF agreement is the first of the pacts to run into difficulty.

Dr. Frank Opelka, LSU system executive vice president, testified in Hernandez’s courtroom earlier this month that BRF has adopted a hostile attitude toward LSU and has refused to work collaboratively with the school.