Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the court of special appeals vacating a jury award of $500,000 against Dr. Shabbir Choudhry for loss of household services, which Petitioner alleged she would have received from her adult daughter, who died after having received medical treatment by Dr. Choudhry, holding that the court of appeals did not err.In vacating the jury award, the court of appeals held that, in a wrongful death action, a parent could recover economic damages for loss of household services but that Petitioner had presented insufficient evidence to have the claim submitted to the jury. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that, in order for a parent of a deceased child to recover pecuniary damages for household services under the Wrongful Death Act, Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. 3-901 to -904, the parent must present evidence not only that they reasonably expected to receive services from the adult child but that the child intended to continue providing those services. View "Fowlkes v. Choudhry" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs' lawsuit against their doctor based on Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1906(a), holding that section 60-1906(a) does not violate the right to trial by jury guaranteed by section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights or the right to a remedy guaranteed by section 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights.Plaintiffs sued their obstetrician, asserting that Defendant breached the applicable duty of care by failing to detect fetal abnormalities in an ultrasound. Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the damages claim for future care made this a wrongful death lawsuit barred by section 60-1906(a). The district court granted judgment to Defendant based on the statute, determining that the statute was unconstitutional. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly applied section 60-1906(a) to conclude that Defendant was entitled to judgment on the pleadings. View "Tillman v. Goodpasture" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals denying Appellants' petition for a writ of mandamus after the district court denied Appellants' motion to transfer venue or, an the alternative, their motion asserting forum non conveniens, holding that the term "several" as used in the context of venue motions means "separate."In this medical malpractice case, Appellants, the two defendants, filed a motion for a change of venue under Minn. Stat. 542.10, which allows "several defendants residing in different counties" to compel the transfer of venue when the majority of them wish to transfer venue. In denying the motion, the district court concluded that the two defendants did not constitute several defendants under the statute. The court of appeals agreed and denied Appellants' petition for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the word "several" in section 54.10 means "separate." View "Manselle v. Krogstad" on Justia Law

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A husband and wife sued medical care providers after the wife suffered a seizure, allegedly due to a doctor’s decision to abruptly discontinue her medication. The superior court granted summary judgment to the medical care providers, ruling that the couple’s only expert witness, a pharmacist, was unqualified to provide testimony about the matter at issue because he was not a doctor of internal medicine and was not board-certified in the doctor’s field or specialty. The couple appealed. After review, the Alaska Supreme Court concurred with the trial court that the pharmacist’s testimony was not sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact about the relevant standard of care. The Court therefore affirmed the grant of summary judgment to the health care providers. View "Beistline v. Footit, and Banner Health Inc., D/B/A Fairbanks Memorial Hospital" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing and this medical malpractice claim, holding that the lawsuit was timely filed and not outside the statute of limitations.The district court set aside a jury verdict for Plaintiffs, granted Defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law, and dismissed this case as untimely, finding that a reasonable jury could not have concluded that this suit was not time barred. On appeal, Plaintiffs argued that even with the exercise of proper diligence they could not have had the requisite knowledge to file suit against Defendant more than one year before they did. The First Circuit agreed and reversed, holding that a reasonable jury could have found that Plaintiffs did not obtain the necessary knowledge to sue until sometime after one year prior to filing suit. View "Melendez-Colon v. Rosado-Sanchez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that claims pleaded under 42 U.S.C. 1983 that were asserted against a state mental health facility and its employees arising from the death of a patient are health care liability claims subject to the Texas Medical Liability Act (TMLA) and that section 1983 does not preempt the TMLA's expert report requirement.Plaintiff sued Rio Grande State Center (RGCS) and ten individual defendants after his son died in RGSC's care. As to RGSC, Plaintiff alleged negligence, and as to the individual defendants, Plaintiff asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Defendants moved to dismiss the claims for failure to serve an expert report under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 74.351(b). The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, and Plaintiff nonsuited the negligence claim against RGSC. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the expert report requirement of the TMLA was preempted by section 1983. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Plaintiff's claims were health care liability claims subject to the TMLA; and (2) section 1983 does not preempt the TMLA's expert-report requirement. View "Rogers v. Bagley" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the court of special appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court for $500,000 in economic damages to Petitioner under the Wrongful Death Act, Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. 3-901 to 3-904, holding that the evidence was insufficient to support a pecuniary damage award to compensate for loss of household services from an adult child, now deceased.The circuit court vacated the award against Respondent, a medical doctor, for loss of household services Petitioner alleged she would have received from her adult daughter who died after receiving medical treatment by Respondent. The court of special appeals affirmed, holding that Petitioner had not produced sufficient evidence to have the claim submitted to the jury pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-519. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the evidence adduced by Petitioner was insufficient to meet her burden of proof. View "Fowlkes v. Choudhry" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed part the judgment of the district court denying summary judgment in favor of the Wyoming State Hospital on Plaintiffs' claims asserting various claims of negligence under the Wyoming governmental Claims Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-39-101 - 120, holding that section 1-30-110's waiver of governmental immunity is not limited to medical malpractice claims.In denying the Hospital's motion for summary judgment, the district court concluded (1) the Hospital had waived its immunity under section 1-39-110, and (2) genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed in part, holding (1) because it did not involve the purely legal issue of whether the Hospital was immune from suit under the Claims Act, the Hospital's appeal with respect to section 1-39-118 and proximate cause is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; and (2) the district court did not err in concluding that the Hospital had waived its immunity under section 1-39-110. View "Wyoming State Hospital v. Romine" on Justia Law

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In October 2012, plaintiff Donna Brown filed a complaint with the Louisiana Division of Administration against Dr. Ralph Chesson. Subsequently, she was notified of Dr. Chesson’s status as a qualified state health care provider and a medical review panel was convened. After the medical review panel rendered its opinion in favor of Dr. Chesson, Brown filed a petition for damages solely against Dr. Chesson in 2015. In the petition she alleged medical malpractice during a 2011 surgical procedure and requested service on Dr. Chesson at his office. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted review in this case to determine whether it was sufficient to request service solely on a qualified state health care provider when that individual was the only named defendant in a medical malpractice suit. Specifically, whether plaintiff’s request for service and citation within ninety days from the commencement of this suit on only the defendant physician satisfied the statutory requirements for service on a state employee. The Supreme Court found that the service was sufficient and the court of appeal erred in sustaining the exceptions of insufficiency of citation and service of process. View "Brown v. Chesson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-appellant Cassie Secol and her four minor children (collectively “the Secols”) challenged several evidentiary rulings, jury instructions, and the denial of their motion for a new trial. In late 2016, Damian Secol passed away from a rare form of cancer, T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (“T-LBL”). Following his death, the Secols brought a medical malpractice action against Damian’s primary care providers: Kelly Dustin, D.O., Austin Gillette, M.D., and Fall River Medical, PLLC (collectively “Fall River”). At trial, the district court questioned Dr. Jeffery Hancock, Damian’s treating oncologist, in front of the jury concerning the treatment and diagnosis of T-LBL. The Secols moved the district court for a mistrial, arguing the questioning prevented a fair trial. The district court denied the motion. After the jury returned a verdict in Fall River’s favor, the Secols moved the district court for a new trial, which was also denied. The Secols appealed, challenging the district court’s evidentiary rulings, delivery of jury instructions, and the denial of their motion for a new trial. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court reversed the district court, vacated the judgment following the jury verdict, and remanded for a new trial to be conducted by a new district judge. Specifically, the Court determined the district court abused its discretion in denying the Secols’ motion for a new trial because its questioning of Dr. Hancock denied the Secols a fair trial. "Such questioning was an abuse of discretion and necessitates a new trial." Further, the district court abused its discretion in permitting Dr. Hancock to testify as to matters for which no foundation was laid and which were outside the scope of his expertise. And in addition, the district court erred in admitting irrelevant testimony about Dr. Gillette’s and Dr. Dustin’s families and hobbies, and the district court erred in delivering a modified jury instruction on medical negligence, which included prejudicially confusing language concerning direct expert testimony as compared to expert testimony. The district court was affirmed as to the admission of Fall River two experts' testimony on the standard of care because its decision on Fall River’s motion for reconsideration was not part of the record. View "Secol v. Fall River Medical PLLC" on Justia Law