Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Family Law
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In 2019 a woman sued her former husband’s medical provider, alleging that from 2003 to 2010 the provider negligently prescribed the husband opioid medications, leading to his addiction, damage to the couple’s business and marital estate, the couple’s divorce in 2011, and ultimately the husband's death in 2017. The superior court ruled the claims were barred by the statute of limitations and rejected the woman’s argument that the provider should have been estopped from relying on a limitations defense. Because the undisputed evidence shows that by 2010 the woman had knowledge of her alleged injuries, the provider’s alleged role in causing those injuries, and the provider’s alleged negligence, the Alaska Supreme Court concluded that the claims accrued at that time and were no longer timely when filed in 2019. And because the record did not show that the woman’s failure to timely file her claims stemmed from reasonable reliance on fraudulent conduct by the provider, the Supreme Court concluded that equitable estoppel did not apply. View "Park v. Spayd" on Justia Law

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During Vivian Harrison’s divorce proceeding to Kirk Harrison, Kirk hired psychiatrist Norton Roitman to conduct a psychiatric analysis of Vivian. Without meeting with or examining Vivian, Dr. Roitman submitted to the court a written report diagnosing Vivian with a personality disorder. Vivian subsequently filed a complaint against Dr. Roitman, alleging that his statements constituted, inter alia, medical malpractice and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The district court granted Roitman’s motion to dismiss, concluding that Dr. Roitman was absolutely immune from liability for each of Vivian’s causes of action because he was a witness preparing an expert report in connection with the matter in controversy at the time he made the statements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, even if the allegations contained in Vivian’s complaint were true, Dr. Roitman's defense of absolute immunity precluded her claim. View "Harrison v. Roitman" on Justia Law

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Dr. Daniel Bailey (Appellant) and his wife, Katherine, began divorce proceedings in 2008. Because the file included sensitive information, the trial court ordered that the file be sealed. In 2010, two of Appellant's former patients and their spouses (the Intervening Parties) filed medical negligence claims against Appellant. The Intervening Parties subsequently moved to intervene in the Baileys’ divorce action for the purpose of trying to unseal portions of the divorce record. The circuit court granted the motion to intervene and ordered the divorce record unsealed. Appellant filed a petition for writ of prohibition against the enforcement of the trial court’s order. The Court of Appeals denied the petition after noting that there was no adequate remedy by appeal and reaching the merits of the claimed error. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different ground, holding that the writ was correctly denied because Appellant had an adequate remedy by appeal, and therefore, the remedy of a writ was unavailable to him. View "Bailey v. Hon. Bertram" on Justia Law

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As a result of Defendants’ negligence, Margaret Mueller was mistakenly diagnosed with the incorrect type of cancer. Mueller and her domestic partner of twenty-one years, Charlotte Stacy, brought this medical malpractice action against Defendants, seeking damages for Mueller’s personal injuries and Stacey’s loss of consortium. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to strike Stacey’s claims on the ground that Stacey and Mueller were not in a civil union or married before or during the dates of the negligent acts. The Appellate Court affirmed on the alternative ground that Plaintiffs failed to state a legally sufficient claim for loss of consortium because they had not alleged that they would have married or entered into a civil union before the dates of Defendants’ negligent acts if they had not been barred from doing so under state law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Appellate Court erred in affirming the trial court’s judgment on grounds distinct from those of the trial court instead of remanding the case to provide Stacey with an opportunity to amend her complaint; and (2) if, on remand, Stacey amends her complaint to allege that she and Mueller would have been married when the underlying tort occurred if they had not been barred from doing so under state law, the trial court must deny Defendants’ motion to strike Stacey’s loss of consortium claims. Remanded. View "Mueller v. Tepler " on Justia Law

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This case interpreted Ky. Rev. Stat. 620.050, which provides civil and criminal immunity to the reporters of suspected child dependency, neglect, and abuse. On the basis of that immunity, the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellants, Norton Hospitals, Neonatal Intensive Care Experts II, and Dr. Ketan Mehta, in a civil suit filed by Brandi Peyton for medical malpractice, negligence, and emotional distress, among other claims. Peyton alleged negligence in generating, interpreting, and reporting toxicology reports that showed Peyton had a high blood alcohol concentration the evening before giving birth to a baby. The court of appeals reversed, opining that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to who initiated the toxicology screening, which, in the court's view, affected the availability of immunity under sections 620.050(1) and 620.050(14). The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding (1) the trial court did not err in finding that there was no issue of material fact as to whether Appellants acted in good faith under Ky. Rev. Stat. 620.030 in reporting the toxicology reports; and (2) Appellants were therefore entitled to immunity under section 620.050(1) as a matter of law. Remanded. View "Norton Hosps., Inc. v. Peyton" on Justia Law