Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court
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Decedent commenced an action (first action) against Defendants, a hospital and two individuals, alleging that Defendants were negligent in failing to treat him for a lesion in his lung. Decedent died of cancer while the first action was pending. The trial court granted Defendants' motions to strike for failure to comply with Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-190a. Six weeks later, Plaintiff, Decedent's surviving spouse, commenced the present action alleging the same causes of action alleged against Defendants in the first action and seeking damages for wrongful death and loss of consortium. Defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. The appellate court reversed based on res judicata, concluding that the first action was decided on its merits because a motion to strike is a judgment on the merits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the appellate court incorrectly concluded the trial court should have granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment on the basis of res judicata; but (2) the present action was time barred and was not saved by Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-592, the accidental failure of suit statute. View "Santorso v. Bristol Hosp." on Justia Law

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Physician diagnosed and treated Patient for various liver and kidney ailments but failed to warn her of the latent driving impairment associated with her condition. After leaving Physician's office, Patient blacked out while operating her motor vehicle and struck Plaintiff. Plaintiff brought an action against Physician and his employer (collectively, Defendants) for professional negligence. The trial court found in favor of Defendants, finding that Physician owed no duty to Plaintiff to warn Patient of the driving risks associated with her medical conditions. The Supreme Court affirmed, and in so doing, declined to extend a health care provider's duty through judicial modification, holding that the trial court properly found that Physician owed no duty to Plaintiff to advise or warn Patient of the latent driving impairment associated with her medical condition. View "Jarmie v. Troncale" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant, an obstetrician and gynecologist, contending that Defendant's failure to advise her that she should have her ovaries removed due to a family history of cancer resulted in her developing ovarian cancer. After a jury trial, the trial court found in favor of Plaintiff. Defendant appealed, arguing primarily that the trial court improperly permitted expert testimony and instructed the jury in a manner consistent with a claim of traditional medical negligence and asserting that Plaintiff's complaint necessarily sounded exclusively in informed consent rather than in medical negligence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding, inter alia, that the trial court's decisions were proper because Plaintiff's complaint properly alleged medical negligence. View "Downs v. Trias" on Justia Law

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The named plaintiff (Plaintiff) in this case, through her parents and next friends, filed a medical malpractice action against, inter alia, state-run health facilities (State). The claims commissioner granted Plaintiff permission to sue the State after vacating an earlier decision dismissing Plaintiff's claim, and the trial court granted Plaintiff's motion to set aside the summary judgment rendered in favor of the State after the legislature amended Conn. Gen. Stat. 4-158 to authorize the commissioner to vacate a decision under certain conditions. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction and substantive authority to set aside its prior decision granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment. View "Nelson v. Dettmer" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, Erik and Carrie Pin, brought a medical malpractice action against Defendants, orthopedic surgeon David Kramer and Danbury Orthopedic Associates, seeking, inter alia, compensatory damages for Kramer's negligence in his surgical treatment of a spinal tumor suffered by Erik. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendants. The appellate court reversed, holding that a new trial was required because the trial court had failed to grant Plaintiffs' request for a curative instruction following remarks by Defendants' expert witness, during his direct examination testimony, concerning increased health care costs caused by defensive medicine practices arising from the proliferation of medical malpractice claims in Connecticut. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appellate court court did not err in its judgment. View "Pin v. Kramer" on Justia Law

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The substitute Plaintiff, the successor administrator of the estate of Decedent, brought a medical malpractice action against Defendants, Physician and Medical Center, claiming, inter alia, that Physician had failed adequately to warn Decedent of certain risks associated with the use of birth control pills and the symptoms of those risks. The trial court directed a verdict in favor of Defendants and rendered judgment accordingly. The appellate court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appellate court properly determined that Plaintiff produced sufficient evidence to present the case to the jury and correctly reversed the trial court's ruling granting a directed verdict in favor of Defendants. View "Curran v. Kroll" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, Kristy and Timothy Wilcox, brought a medical malpractice action against Defendants, a general surgeon (Doctor) and his employer, alleging that Doctor negligently performed laparoscopic gallbladder surgery on Kristy. The trial court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding that the written opinion of a similar health care provider that accompanied the certificate of good faith, as mandated by Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-190a(a), did not satisfy the "detailed basis" requirement of the statute because it failed to explain the particular manner in which Doctor had breached the standard of care. The appellate court reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a written opinion satisfies the "detailed basis" requirement of section 52-190a(a) if it states the similar health care provider's opinion as to the applicable standard of care, the fact that the standard of care was breached, and the factual basis of the similar health care provider's conclusion concerning the breach of the standard of care; and (2) the written opinion in the present case was sufficiently detailed to satisfy section 52-190a(a). View "Wilcox v. Schwartz" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs brought a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination that certain medical malpractice claims that they had asserted in an action against a medical association were covered under an insurance policy issued to the facility by Insurer. Due to Insurer's insolvency during the pendency of the action, Connecticut Insurance Guaranty Association assumed liability for Insurer's obligations to the extent that claims were covered under the Connecticut Insurance Guaranty Act. The Association filed a counterclaim, contending that the claims against the medical association were not covered because they were subject to a policy provision that excluded them from corporate coverage liability. The trial rendered rendered judgment in Plaintiffs' favor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that that the policy exclusion was inapplicable to the medical association's coverage for claims brought against it predicated solely on liability that it may have occurred through the acts of one of its nurse practitioners. View "Johnson v. Conn. Ins. Guar. Ass'n" on Justia Law

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This medical malpractice case arose out of the claimed failure of Defendant, Mandell and Blau, M.D.'s, P.C., properly and promptly to diagnose Plaintiff, Brenda Sawicki, with breast cancer. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendant. Plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial, alleging juror misconduct. The trial court denied the motion. The appellate court reversed the trial court, determining that the trial court had abused its discretion in concluding that Plaintiff was not prejudiced by jurors' predeliberation discussions. The Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court, holding that there was ample evidence of repeated, egregious misconduct and that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrated prejudice. View "Sawicki v. New Britain Gen. Hosp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, the administrators of Decedent's estate, brought a medical malpractice action against Defendants, a thoracic surgeon and the surgeon's employer. Plaintiffs attached to their original complaint an opinion letter from a physician who was board certified in internal medicine with a subspecialty in cardiovascular disease. Plaintiffs subsequently filed an amended complaint. Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' original complaint on the grounds that Plaintiffs failed to comply with the requirements of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit mandated by Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-109a(a) as a result of their failure to attach to their complaint an opinion letter from a similar health care provider. The trial court granted the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, concluding that Defendants waived their right to challenge the sufficiency of the original complaint and its attachment by failing to timely file a motion to dismiss. Remanded. View "Morgan v. Hartford Hosp." on Justia Law