Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court granting in part Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss Defendants' appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered following a jury verdict in favor of Plaintiffs on certain medical malpractice claims and denied Defendants' motion to suspend the rules of practice to permit a late appeal, holding that the Appellate Court did not err.On appeal, Defendants argued that the Appellate Court erred in granting Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the portion of the appeal challenging the jury's verdict as untimely and abused its discretion in denying their motion to suspend the rules of practice to permit a later appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the appeal was untimely; and (2) the Appellate Court did not abuse its discretion or work injustice by determining that Defendants had failed to establish good cause for their failure to file a timely appeal. View "Georges v. OB-GYN Services, P.C." on Justia Law

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James Williams suffered a severe brain injury from complications following cervical spine surgery. A lawsuit was brought against the hospital and the surgeon for medical malpractice, which included a claim for wrongful death after Williams died. Dr. Orhan Ilercil was ultimately found to be 15 percent responsible for Williams’s injuries and death, which amounted to a judgment against him for $205,800. Dr. Ilercil appealed, contending, among other things, that the trial court erred by refusing to give an intervening/superseding-cause instruction. To this, the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed, reversed judgment and remanded for a new trial. View "Ilercil v. Williams" on Justia Law

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After Dameron underwent a robotic-assisted hysterectomy at Mercy Hospital, she brought a medical malpractice action. During discovery, Dameron disclosed Dr. Preston as a controlled expert witness under Ill. Sup. Ct. Rule 213(f)(3). Dameron stated that Preston would testify concerning "the comparison electromyogram and/or nerve conduction studies he will be performing" and would also testify that he reviewed the results of Dameron’s November 2013 EMG and NCV tests performed at Mercy. In June 2017, Preston performed the EMG study and prepared a report. In July 2017, Dameron e-mailed the defendants, stating that she was withdrawing Preston as a Rule 213(f)(3) controlled expert witness and considering him to be a Rule 201(b)(3) non-testifying expert consultant and that she would not produce any documents from Preston’s review of the case or his examination. Dameron moved to change Preston’s designation and sought to preclude discovery of facts and opinions known by Preston absent a showing of exceptional circumstances, stating that Preston was not one of her treating physicians.The appellate court reversed the denial of Dameron’s motion. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Defendants are not entitled to Preston’s report and EMG study on the basis that Preston served as Dameron’s treating physician; Preston was consulted for the purpose of providing testimony. A party is permitted to redesignate an expert from a Rule 213(f) controlled expert witness to a Rule 201(b)(3) consultant in a reasonable amount of time before trial, where a report has not yet been disclosed. Rule 201(b)(3) protects both conceptual data and factual information. Defendants did not show exceptional circumstances. View "Dameron v. Mercy Hospital & Medical Center" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Plaintiff's complaint against Defendant, a surgeon, alleging that he negligently treated Plaintiff's spinal condition, was barred by the statute of limitations, holding that the district court correctly found that Plaintiff's complaint was untimely filed.In her complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant did not meet the applicable standard of care in his performances of surgeries on her and in her after care. Defendant moved for summary judgment, asserting that the complaint was barred by the applicable statute of limitations, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-3-107. The district court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that the statute of limitations expired four days before Plaintiff's complaint was filed. View "Candelaria v. Karandikar" on Justia Law

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The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to the Court of Appeals in five appeals consolidated appeals for review to address two discrete issues – one related to pleading vicarious liability, and the other related to vicarious liability and apportionment. In August 2009, Keith Trabue’s wife, Shannon, suffered a catastrophic brain injury resulting from pulmonary edema leading to full cardiac arrest within days of giving birth to the couple’s daughter at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. At the hospital, Shannon was treated by physician-employees of Atlanta Women’s Specialists, LLC (AWS), including Dr. Stanley Angus and Dr. Rebecca Simonsen. Trabue and the bank serving as his wife’s conservator (Plaintiffs) later filed a medical malpractice action naming as defendants only Dr. Angus and AWS, although the complaint contained allegations regarding Dr. Simonsen’s conduct and alleged that AWS was vicariously responsible for the acts and omissions of both Dr. Angus and Dr. Simonsen. The complaint did not allege any independent acts of negligence on the part of AWS. At a two-week trial in 2017, after the close of the evidence, Dr. Angus and AWS, asked the court to require the jury to assess the percentages of fault of Dr. Angus and Dr. Simonsen and to apportion the damages between Dr. Angus and AWS under OCGA 51-12-33 (b). The Supreme Court asked the parties to brief two questions: (1) Did the Court of Appeals err in holding that the plaintiffs sufficiently pled a claim for vicarious liability against AWS based on the conduct of Dr. Simonsen?; and (2) Did the Court of Appeals err in holding that, to obtain apportionment of damages with regard to the negligence of Dr. Simonsen, the defendants were required to comply with OCGA 51-12-33 (d) by filing a pretrial notice of nonparty fault? The Supreme Court answered both questions in the negative and affirmed the Court of Appeals’ judgment. View "Atlanta Women's Specialists, LLC et al. v. Trabue et al." on Justia Law

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In this medical malpractice action the Supreme Court dismissed this appeal insofar as Defendants challenged the subject matter jurisdiction of the trial court to open and vacate the final judgment of dismissal, holding that the substitute plaintiff had standing to move to open the judgment.The decedent, the eleven-year-old-son of Karla Wolfork and Damian Pisani, died while hospitalized. The probate court appointed Wolfork as the administratrix of the decedent's estate and Pisani as coadministrator. Wolfork, in her representative capacity, filed a medical negligence action against Defendants on behalf of the decedent's estate. The trial court later sua sponte dismissed the action pursuant to Practice Book 14-3 for failure to file a withdrawal of the action within the allotted time period. Pisani subsequently moved to open and vacate the judgment of dismissal, explaining that Wolfork had been removed as administratrix of the estate and that Pisani had been appointed sole administrator with the authority to handle all litigation. The trial court granted Pisani's motion, and Defendants appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal in part and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that Pisani had standing to move to open the judgment of dismissal, and therefore, the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to open and vacate the judgment. View "Wolfork v. Yale Medical Group" on Justia Law

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David and Margaret Fisk appealed after a district court granted summary judgment in favor of Jeffery D. McDonald, M.D., and the Hospital on their medical malpractice claims. The district court granted summary judgment on the Fisks’ single cause of action after determining the Fisks had failed to provide expert testimony demonstrating actual knowledge of the community standard of care. The Fisks also appealed the district court’s order denying their subsequent motion for reconsideration. The district court granted summary judgment on the basis that the Fisks failed to establish an essential element of their medical malpractice claim. The Idaho Supreme Court concluded the district court's decision was not based on expert testimony submitted by McDonald or the Hospital. As such, the conclusory nature or admissibility of any such testimony was immaterial to the district court’s decision. Therefore, the district court did not err in determining that the burden was on the Fisks to establish the essential elements of their medical malpractice claim. The Court found, however, that the district court erred in denying the Fisks' motions for reconsideration. The district court was asked to reconsider the order granting summary judgment, so the summary judgment standard applied to the district court’s decision on the motion for reconsideration and now applied to the Supreme Court’s review of that decision on appeal. The Fisks supported their motions for reconsideration with additional expert declarations, one of which demonstrated that he had actual knowledge of the community standard of care. Furthermore, the Supreme Court determined the district court erred in determining that the Fisks failed to properly plead that McDonald was liable for the acts or omissions of a nurse practitioner via the agency theory of liability. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Fisk v. McDonald" on Justia Law

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Debra Dlouhy, Dustin Dlouhy, individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Duane Dlouhy (“the Dlouhys”) appealed a district court order granting summary judgment in favor of Kootenai Health. The district court granted summary judgment on the Dlouhys’ medical malpractice action after determining that the Dlouhys had failed to provide adequate foundation showing that their expert witnesses had actual knowledge of the community standard of care. In May 2015, Duane Dlouhy went to the emergency department because of rectal bleeding. After a CT scan, "no obvious mass" was noted on his records, but that "dark red blood" was present. The radiologist charted that a “neoplasm cannot be excluded.” Mr. Dlouhy was discharged from the hospital and went home, but returned several hours later after the rectal bleeding began again. A colonoscopy was performed, but no complete view of the rectum could be obtained. Mr. Dlouhy was discharged again. He would have follow-up appointments in June and September, 2015, and in January 2016. By August, he had been diagnosed with state IV colorectal cancer. After review of the trial court record, the Idaho Supreme Court determined the district court erred in granting Kootenai Health’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the Dlouhys failed to provide sufficient expert testimony as to the community standard of care. The Dlouhys argued that “for board-certified physicians, there is a national standard of care.” They argued that Mr. Dlouhy's original emergency physician was subject to the national standard of care that applied to board-certified gastroenterologists, and that their out-of-area expert had actual knowledge of the applicable national standard because he held the same board certification as the local physician. The Supreme Court concluded the expert familiarized himself sufficiently in the community standard of care for board-certified gastroenterologists such that his testimony should not have been excluded. The district court’s order granting summary judgment was reversed in part, the final judgment dismissing the Dlouhys’ medical malpractice claim was vacated, and the case remanded for further proceedings. View "Dlouhy v. Kootenai Hospital District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court in favor of Plaintiff in this medical malpractice case, holding that the circuit court erred by striking and removing Defendants' constitutional right to a jury trial.Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging medical negligence against Defendants. The complaint included a demand for a jury trial. Defendants' answer also contained a demand for a jury trial. The circuit court struck Defendants' request to a jury trial as a sanction for failing to comply with its scheduling order's mediation requirement. After Plaintiff waived her right to a jury trial the matter proceeded to trial as a bench trial. The court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff in the amount of $821,635. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court lacked the authority to divest Defendants of their fundamental constitutional right to a jury trial. View "Bandy v. Vick" on Justia Law

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In this medical malpractice action, the Supreme Judicial Court vacated the portion of the superior court's order compelling discovery of the redacted medical records of fifty Mid Coast Hospital (MCH) patients, nonparties, and the personnel file of Dr. Mia Marietta, a former employee of MCH who performed the surgery at issue in this case, holding that the trial court erred in ordering the production of the nonparty operative notes under the circumstances of this case.Dr. Marietta performed a gallbladder removal on Carol Kennelly at MCH. Kennelly's Estate brought this action alleging that Dr. Marietta, who was not a party to the action, performed the surgery in a manner that violated the appropriate standard of care and that MCH was vicariously liable as Dr. Marietta's employer. The State filed a motion to compel the production of Dr. Marietta's operative notes, with certain redactions, for the twenty-five gallbladder removal surgeries she performed on nonparty patients before Kennelly's surgery and the twenty-five gallbladder removal surgeries she performed on nonparty patients after Kennelly's surgery. MCH appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) the appeal from the portion of the order compelling production of the personnel file was interlocutory; and (2) the medical records of the nonparty patients in this case must be deemed to remain privileged in their unredacted and redacted forms. View "Estate of Carol A. Kennelly v. Mid Coast Hospital" on Justia Law