Articles Posted in Alaska Supreme Court

by
Appellant Sean Wright, a former inmate of the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) who was incarcerated at an out-of-state correctional facility under contract with DOC, filed a medical malpractice and 42 U.S.C. 1983 civil rights action against officials employed by the out-of-state correctional facility and by DOC. The civil rights claims alleged that the corrections officials were deliberately indifferent to Wright's medical needs. The superior court granted summary judgment dismissing the medical malpractice action as barred by the two-year statute of limitations. Subsequently the court granted summary judgment on the deliberate indifference claims against the inmate. In the course of the proceedings, Wright unsuccessfully sought to have the superior court judge removed for alleged bias. Wright appealed these decisions. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Wright v. Anding" on Justia Law

by
Dr. Michael Brandner suffered a heart attack in September 2009 and was admitted to Providence Alaska Medical Center for emergency bypass surgery. Dr. Kenton Stephens was the cardiac surgeon who performed the operation; Dr. Robert J. Pease administered anesthesia. Dr. Brandner was also a medical doctor, licensed to practice plastic and reconstructive surgery. Bradner sued the anesthesiologist and medical providers involved in the surgery. The superior court dismissed Bradner’s claims on summary judgment, concluding that Bradner had offered no admissible evidence that the defendants breached the standard of care or caused the patient any injury. On appeal Bradner relied on his expert witness’s testimony that certain surgical procedures were suboptimal and that patients generally tended to have better outcomes when other procedures are followed. The Supreme Court agreed with the trial court’s conclusion that this testimony was insufficient to raise any issue of material fact regarding whether the defendants had violated the standard of care in a way that caused injury to the patient. View "Brandner v. Pease" on Justia Law

by
The State provided prisoner Dewell Pearce extensive medical care during his incarceration. Around the time of his release from custody, Mr. Pearce won a medical malpractice judgment against the State. The State paid part of the judgment, but relying on a reimbursement statute, withheld the medical care costs associated with conditions unrelated to the malpractice claim. The State then sought a declaratory judgment that it was entitled to reimbursement from Mr. Pearce for treatment of the unrelated conditions. The superior court ruled that the statute in question did not authorize the State to seek reimbursement from former prisoners no longer in custody. The State appealed. Upon review of the superior court record and the applicable statute, the Supreme Court found that the superior court misinterpreted the law. The Court reversed the superior court's ruling and vacated the judgment. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Alaska Dep't of Corrections v. Hendricks-Pearce" on Justia Law