Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court held that a physician employed in an executive position who does not directly oversee physicians who treat patients does not satisfy the active-clinical-practice requirement of Ohio R. Evid. 601.Plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice suit alleging that Defendant was negligent of his treatment of one of the plaintiffs. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of Defendant. The court of appeals reversed and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the plain language of Rule 601 should have precluded the testimony of Dr. Ron Walls as an expert regarding the standard of care when Walls was not involved in the active clinical practice of medicine. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a physician who is employed in an executive position and does not directly oversee physicians who treat patients does not satisfy the requirements of Rule 601; and (2) Walls did not satisfy the active-clinical-practice requirement of Rule 601. View "Johnson v. Abdullah" on Justia Law

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In an interlocutory appeal, defendants challenged the trial court’s denial of their motion to dismiss plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim. They contended dismissal was required because plaintiff did not file a certificate of merit (COM) with her complaint as required by 12 V.S.A. 1042(a) and the trial court did not find, nor did the complaint show, that this was a “rare instance” where expert testimony was unnecessary under section 1042(e). The Vermont Supreme Court agreed with defendants and therefore reversed the trial court’s decision. View "Bittner v. Centurion of Vermont, LLC et al." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the entry of an amended judgment entered in this medical malpractice case, holding that the district court erred in granting judgment as a matter of law.Plaintiffs, a couple and their minor child, sued Defendants, a hospital and a medical doctor, seeking damages for the brain damage that the child suffered at his birth. The jury entered a verdict of just under $5 million in favor of Plaintiffs. The hospital subsequently filed two post-trial motions - a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law under Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b). In granting the motion, the district court reconsidered its position at trial and struck the testimony of the only expert on future costs. The court then entered an amended judgment setting aside just over $3 million of the judgment. The First Circuit vacated the judgment below, holding that the district court erred. View "Santos-Arrieta v. Hospital Del Maestro, Inc." on Justia Law

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Mobile Infirmary Association ("MIA"), doing business as J.L. Bedsole Rotary Rehabilitation Hospital ("Rotary Rehab") and doing business as Mobile Infirmary Medical Center ("Mobile Infirmary"), petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for mandamus relief from a complaint filed by John McBride alleging medical malpractice. According to McBride's complaint, he had undergone a craniotomy, hospitalization, and treatment at Mobile Infirmary for a subdural hematoma he had suffered while at home. He alleged that, in early June 2018, he was transferred to Rotary Rehab "to receive skilled and specialized nursing, medical and rehabilitative therapy." McBride further alleged that, while he was a patient at Rotary Rehab, he "suffered a decubitus pressure ulcer to his left and right heels, causing severe pain and suffering, infection, hospital treatment, financial loss, emotional distress, and eventually amputation below his left knee." McBride's complaint asserted counts of negligence and wantonness against the defendants, based on several alleged breaches of the applicable standards of care. MIA, in its capacity doing business as Rotary Rehab and in its capacity doing business as Mobile Infirmary, moved to dismiss McBride's complaint, arguing that his claims are barred by the limitations period set out in 6-5-482(a), Ala. Code 1975. Specifically, MIA contended the complaint was not filed until July 22, 2020, more than two years after the date of accrual of any potential claims against Mobile Infirmary or Rotary Rehab. The Alabama Supreme Court determined the statutory bar was apparent from the face of McBride's complaint. Therefore, MIA demonstrated a clear legal right to an order dismissing the complaint. Accordingly, MIA's mandamus petition was granted, and the writ of mandamus was issued directing the circuit court to vacate its order denying MIA's motion to dismiss, and to enter an order granting the motion. View "Ex parte Mobile Infirmary Association d/b/a J.L. Bedsole Rotary Rehabilitation Hospital and d/b/a Mobile Infirmary Medical Center." on Justia Law

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Roxanne Watson filed two successive lawsuits against Greenwood Leflore Hospital and Dr. John Lucas III (collectively, “GLH”), alleging medical negligence. Watson’s first complaint was dismissed without prejudice because a notice of claim was not filed with the chief executive officer of the governmental entity at least ninety days before instituting suit as required by Mississippi Code Section 11-46-11(1) (Rev. 2019) of the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA). Watson then refiled the complaint. GLH sought dismissal of the second complaint, contending that Watson was required to provide it with a second notice of claim and that the one-year statute of limitations had expired. The trial court denied GLH’s motion to dismiss, and the Mississippi Supreme Court granted an interlocutory appeal. After review, the Supreme Court concluded Watson satisfied the MTCA’s notice requirements, affirming the trial court’s order denying the motion to dismiss. View "Greenwood Leflore Hospital et al. v. Watson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court applying the general negligence statute of limitations in Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-584 to Plaintiffs' claims alleging medical negligence instead of the extended limitation period set forth in section 52-577d, holding that the trial court did not err.Plaintiffs were minor patients of Robert Rackliffe, a pediatrician practicing in the early 1970s to the 1980s. Plaintiffs alleged that Rackliffe sexually assaulted them during their annual physical examinations and that Rackliffe's conduct constituted medical negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 52-577d did not apply to Plaintiffs' claims sounding in negligence and that the negligence claims were governed by the limitation period set forth in section 52-584. View "Doe v. Rackliffe" on Justia Law

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Michael Summerfield brought a medical malpractice suit against St. Luke’s McCall, Ltd. (St. Luke’s), following the surgical removal of his gallbladder. During surgery, the attending surgeon, employed by St. Luke’s, unknowingly spilled and left a gallstone in Summerfield’s peritoneal cavity. When it was later determined that the gallstone was not in the removed gallbladder, the surgeon failed to inform Summerfield of the incident, warn him of any potential complications, or properly document the incident in his medical records. St. Luke’s moved for summary judgment, challenging the admissibility of the opinions offered by Summerfield’s expert witness. St. Luke’s claimed Summerfield’s expert, as an emergency medicine and wound care physician, was unable to establish the requisite knowledge of the applicable standards of care and breaches thereof by St. Luke’s and the attending surgeon. The district court initially agreed with St. Luke’s and granted its motion for summary judgment. Summerfield then filed a motion for reconsideration and attached a supplemental declaration from his expert witness that established the requisite foundation. The district court considered this additional evidence and granted Summerfield’s motion. However, the district court later reversed itself, relying on Ciccarello v. Davies, 456 P.3d 519 (2019), which held that a trial court was afforded discretion in determining whether to consider new declarations accompanying a motion for reconsideration if they were untimely for consideration at summary judgment. Summerfield appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court, contending the district court’s sua sponte reversal of itself was in error and contrary to previous decisions issued by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court in part, and reversed in part. The Court affirmed district court’s decision to grant St. Luke’s motion for summary judgment on Summerfield’s claim that Dr. Ocmand breached the standard of care for not noticing the spilled gallstone and not retrieving it because Dr. Madsen did not establish a sufficient foundation to testify as to the appropriate standard of care. The Court also affirmed the district court’s sua sponte decision to reverse itself and not consider Dr. Madsen’s third affidavit and reinstate judgment for St. Luke’s on this same ground. However, the Supreme Court reversed the district court’s decision to grant St. Luke’s motion for summary judgment as to Summerfield’s claims that Dr. Ocmand breached the standard of care by failing to inform Summerfield of the spilled gallstone and by failing to note the spilled gallstone in Summerfield’s medical chart because Dr. Madsen laid a sufficient foundation to testify as to these matters. View "Summerfield v. St. Luke's McCall" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court granting summary judgment to Defendant and dismissing Plaintiff's fraudulent concealment claim, holding that Plaintiff's claim was untimely.Plaintiff, having been misinformed of a medical diagnosis by her provider, brought this medical malpractice complaint seeking relief for her injuries on grounds of fraudulent concealment, despite expiration of the applicable limitation period. The trial court ruled for Defendant. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that Defendant's fraudulent concealment of her test results tolled the five-year limitation period. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) fraudulent concealment may not extend the time in which to file a claim; and (2) even if the limitation period were subject to tolling, Defendant's constructive fraud precluded equitable relief. View "Blackford v. Welborn Clinic" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment to Defendants and dismissing Plaintiff's action alleging that her consent to certain medical treatment was invalid, holding that summary judgment was proper.Plaintiff consented to participate in a clinical trial following her kidney transplant. Shortly after participating in the trial, Plaintiff developed a rare form of blood cancer. Plaintiff and her husband brought this action against the clinical trial's medical providers, alleging that her consent to the medical treatment involved in the trial was invalid pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 304.40-320. The trial court granted summary judgment to Defendants, finding that Plaintiff's informed consent complied with Kentucky statutory authority and federal regulations. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiffs did not have a viable informed consent claim under Kentucky law. View "University Medical Center, Inc. v. James Graham Brown Cancer Center" on Justia Law

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Stark had surgery in 2007 to implant a pelvic mesh device. The surgery was not successful, and she had follow-up surgeries that also were not successful. In 2018, she learned for the first time that her problems with the pelvic mesh device might have resulted from a defect in the product itself. She consulted a lawyer and later that year filed this suit against the manufacturer. The district court concluded that Stark should have realized much earlier that the product might have been defective and granted summary judgment based on the two-year statute of limitations.The Seventh Circuit reversed. The statute of limitations began to run only when Stark should have realized that her mesh-related complications might have been wrongfully caused by another person. As a general rule, the failure of a medical procedure or product to cure a patient does not necessarily signal that anyone acted wrongfully, particularly when the patient experiences known complications that do not necessarily result from tortious actions. In addition here, Stark’s medical history included Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which two of her doctors told her could explain her continued problems. The combination of that general principle and her specific circumstances could allow a reasonable jury to decide that this suit was timely. View "Stark v. Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, Inc." on Justia Law