by
This interlocutory appeal arose from a circuit court’s denial of a motion to transfer venue. Under Mississippi law, venue is determined at the time the lawsuit originally is filed. The resolution of this appeal hinged on the application of this principle to an issue of first impression for the Mississippi Supreme Court: does an amended complaint, which names a new party to the suit, relate back to the time of filing of the original complaint for the purposes of determining venue? The Court found it did not. The suit here was filed in Hinds County, naming only Forrest County defendants, and the amended complaint did not relate back to the time of filing for the purposes of determining venue. The circuit court abused its discretion in denying the motion to transfer venue. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court and remanded the case to be transferred to the Circuit Court Forrest County. View "Forrest General Hospital v. Upton" on Justia Law

by
The Board of Directors (the Board) of Bear Valley Community Hospital (Bear Valley) refused to promote Dr. Robert O. Powell from provisional to active staff membership and reappointment to Bear Valley's medical staff. Dr. Powell appealed the superior court judgment denying his petition for writ of mandate to void the Board's decision and for reinstatement of his medical staff privileges. Dr. Powell practiced medicine in both Texas and California as a general surgeon. In 2000, the medical executive committee of Brownwood Regional Medical Center (Brownwood), in Texas, found that Dr. Powell failed to advise a young boy's parents that he severed the boy's vas deferens during a hernia procedure or of the ensuing implications. Further, the committee found that Dr. Powell falsely represented to Brownwood's medical staff, on at least two occasions, that he fully disclosed the circumstances to the parents, behavior which the committee considered to be dishonest, obstructive, and which prevented appropriate follow-up care. Based on the committee's findings, Brownwood terminated Dr. Powell's staff membership and clinical privileges. In subsequent years, Dr. Powell obtained staff privileges at other medical facilities. In October 2011, Dr. Powell applied for appointment to the medical staff at Bear Valley. On his initial application form, Dr. Powell was given an opportunity to disclose whether his clinical privileges had ever been revoked by any medical facility. In administrative hearings generated by the Bear Valley Board’s decision, there was a revelation that Dr. Powell had not been completely forthcoming about the Brownwood termination, and alleged the doctor mislead the judicial review committee (“JRC”) about the circumstances leading to that termination. Under Bear Valley's bylaws, Dr. Powell had the right to an administrative appeal of the JRC's decision; he chose, however, to bypass an administrative appeal and directly petition the superior court for a writ of mandamus. In superior court, Dr. Powell filed a petition for writ of mandate under Code of Civil Procedure sections 1094.5 and 1094.6, seeking to void the JRC's/Board's decision and to have his medical privileges reinstated. The trial court denied the petition, and this appeal followed. On appeal of the superior court’s denial, Dr. Powell argued he was entitled to a hearing before the lapse of his provisional staff privileges: that the Board surreptitiously terminated his staff privileges, presumably for a medical disciplinary cause, by allowing his privileges to lapse and failing to act. The Court of Appeal determined the Bear Valley Board had little to no insight into the true circumstances of Dr. Powell’s termination at Brownwood or the extent of his misrepresentations, thus the Board properly exercised independent judgment based on the information presented. In summary, the Court of Appeal concluded Bear Valley provided Dr. Powell a fair procedure in denying his request for active staff privileges and reappointment to the medical staff. View "Powell v. Bear Valley Community Hospital" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim on the grounds that the Utah Medical Malpractice Act’s two-year statute of limitations barred Plaintiff’s claim. Specifically, the Court held (1) a jury could permissibly find for Defendant based on the evidence before it; (2) the trial court’s decision not to grant summary judgment was not reviewable; (3) the trial court’s evidentiary decisions were not in error; (4) a directed verdict was not warranted where sufficient evidence was offered to sustain the jury verdict in favor of Defendant; and (5) the jury instructions in this case were not misleading. View "Arnold v. Grigsby" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendants (collectively, the doctors) in this medical negligence action brought by the administrator of the estate of Paul Hemsley (the Estate). In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants were negligent in the rendering of medical care and treatment to Hemsley. The jury found for the doctors. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not fail to perform its Daubert/Schafersman gatekeeping function in admitting the testimony of the doctors’ expert witnesses that Defendants met the standard of care; and (2) the district court did not err in overruling the Estate’s post trial motions. View "Hemsley v. Langdon" on Justia Law

by
In this case brought by a former patient who sued his psychiatrist for medical malpractice, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for the psychiatrist. The Court held (1) the district court did not err in granting the patient a ninety-day continuance of the summary judgment hearing for only the limited purpose of giving the patient more time to hire an expert witness; (2) the district court did not err in relying on the psychiatrist’s affidavit in which he averred that he had met the applicable standard of care; and (3) the patient was not prejudiced by the court’s refusal to enter exhibit 35, which contained the patient’s first set of requests for admission and the psychiatrist’s responses, into evidence at the summary judgment hearing or by its denial of Lombardo’s motion for a protective order under HIPAA. View "Lombardo v. Sedlacek" on Justia Law

by
In this medical malpractice action, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed Monica Gutierrez’s treating physicians to testify during trial as to their diagnostic opinions and permitted Monica and her parents (collectively, “Petitioners”) to present rebuttal testimony from a second pathology expert. Further, any prejudice attributable to comments made during Petitioners’ closing argument did not merit a new trial. Petitioners alleged that Dr. Jose Vargas negligently failed to diagnose Monica with a chronic kidney disease, which severely damaged her kidneys and forced her to undergo a kidney transplant. After a second trial, the court entered a final judgment award of over $4 million for Petitioners. The Third District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for a new trial, concluding that Petitioners violated the “one expert per specialty” rule and materially misrepresented the evidence during closing arguments. The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the Third District, holding (1) admitting the testimony of Monica’s treating physicians was proper because they testified as Monica’s treating physicians, not expert witnesses; (2) a second pathology expert properly testified in rebuttal; and (3) a single improper comment by Petitioners’ counsel did not require a new trial. View "Gutierrez v. Vargas" on Justia Law

by
Teresa Vermilyea and her daughter, Julie Vermilyea Kasby, filed suit against Singing River Health System, Jennifer Thomas-Taylor, M.D.; Alva Britt, R.N.; Benjamin Hudson, M.D.; and Emergency Room Group, Ltd., pursuant to the Mississippi Tort Claims Act for the wrongful death of Randy Vermilyea, the husband of Teresa Vermilyea and father of Julie Vermilyea Kasby (collectively, “Vermilyea”). Vermilyea alleged that Randy had been admitted to the Singing River Hospital following a suicide attempt and that the defendants had breached the standard of care by failing to assess his mental condition properly and prematurely discharging him, proximately causing his suicide minutes after his discharge. Julie Vermilyea Kasby, who had witnessed her father’s suicide, asserted a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Mississippi Supreme Court granted appellants' interlocutory appeal. Finding that Vermilyea did state viable legal claims based upon Randy Vermilyea’s death, the Supreme Court affirmed and remanded the case to the Circuit Court for further proceedings. View "Singing River Health System v. Vermilyea" on Justia Law

by
Amy Langley Hamilton appealed a judgment entered in favor of Warren Scott, M.D., and the Isbell Medical Group, P.C. ("IMG"), following a jury trial on Hamilton's claim alleging the wrongful death of her stillborn son Tristian. In the first appeal, Hamilton v. Scott, 97 So. 3d 728 (Ala. 2012) ("Hamilton I"), the Alabama Supreme Court reversed in part a summary judgment entered against Hamilton because it concluded that Hamilton was entitled to pursue a wrongful-death claim regarding her unborn son even though the child was not viable at the time of his death. It was undisputed that the trial court's charges to the jury did not include the "better-position" principle. "That legal principle goes to the heart of Hamilton's theory of the case, i.e., that Dr. Scott's failure to refer Hamilton to a perinatologist during Hamilton's February 25, 2005, visit prevented timely treatment that, according to Dr. Bruner's testimony, would have saved Tristian's life." Consequently, the Supreme Court held the trial court's refusal to give such instructions constituted reversible error. View "Hamilton v. Scott" on Justia Law

by
Amy Langley Hamilton appealed a judgment entered in favor of Warren Scott, M.D., and the Isbell Medical Group, P.C. ("IMG"), following a jury trial on Hamilton's claim alleging the wrongful death of her stillborn son Tristian. In the first appeal, Hamilton v. Scott, 97 So. 3d 728 (Ala. 2012) ("Hamilton I"), the Alabama Supreme Court reversed in part a summary judgment entered against Hamilton because it concluded that Hamilton was entitled to pursue a wrongful-death claim regarding her unborn son even though the child was not viable at the time of his death. It was undisputed that the trial court's charges to the jury did not include the "better-position" principle. "That legal principle goes to the heart of Hamilton's theory of the case, i.e., that Dr. Scott's failure to refer Hamilton to a perinatologist during Hamilton's February 25, 2005, visit prevented timely treatment that, according to Dr. Bruner's testimony, would have saved Tristian's life." Consequently, the Supreme Court held the trial court's refusal to give such instructions constituted reversible error. View "Hamilton v. Scott" on Justia Law

by
Joas underwent knee replacement at a Wisconsin hospital and received a Zimmer NexGen Flex implant. Within a few years, he began experiencing pain in his new knee. X-rays confirmed that the implant had loosened and required a surgical fix. Joas brought multiple claims against Zimmer. His case was transferred to a multidistrict litigation, where it was treated as a bellwether case. Applying Wisconsin law, the presiding judge granted Zimmer summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, declining to reinstate a single claim based on a theory of inadequate warning. The court predicted that the Wisconsin Supreme Court would follow the majority of states and adopt the “learned intermediary” doctrine, which holds that the manufacturer of a medical device has no duty to warn the patient as long as it provides adequate warnings to the physician. In addition, Joas has not identified any danger that Zimmer should have warned him about. Joas has no evidence to support causation. Joas did not select the NexGen Flex implant, so the information would not have caused him to change his behavior. His doctor selected the product, making his decision based on his own past experience, not on any marketing materials or information provided by Zimmer. View "Joas v. Zimmer, Inc." on Justia Law