Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's judgment in favor of Defendants in this suit against healthcare providers seeking damages for alleged breach of duties, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff sued Baptist Healthcare System, Inc., Apogee Medical Group Kentucky, PSC and Subhose Bathing, M.D. alleging that Defendants breached their standards of care for by prescribing two antibiotics known to be linked to arrhythmias and cardiac arrest when taken by patients with low potassium. After a trial, the jury found that neither defendant had breached their standard of care. The court of appeals affirmed. On appeal to the Supreme Court, Plaintiff claimed eight errors in the proceedings below. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no prejudicial error in this case. View "Kentucky Guardianship Administrators, LLC v. Baptist Health System, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the court of appeals denying Plaintiffs' petitions seeking writs of prohibition in these medical malpractice actions, holding that Plaintiffs established that they were entitled to the writs.Plaintiffs brought this action against Defendants, medical providers and their employers asserting medical malpractice. Plaintiffs moved to disqualify Defendants' counsel, asserting the existence of an actual conflict of interest. The trial court found the existence of actual conflicts of interest and granted the motions. The court of appeals subsequently denied Defendants' separate petitions seeking writs of prohibition. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiffs satisfied the burdens of showing entitlement to seek issuance of a writ. View "Harkins v. Honorable House" 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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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandamus to direct Judge Stockton Wood of the Fleming Circuit Court to issue various orders in her favor, holding that a writ of mandamus was inappropriate.Plaintiff filed a third amended complaint against radiologists and health care providers alleging medical negligence, spoliation, abuse of process, obstruction of justice, and other claims. During a two-month period the trial court entered fourteen separate orders. Plaintiff sought a writ of mandamus directing the court to issue orders in her favor. The court of appeals denied the petition for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that an adequate remedy by appeal existed for each of the errors Plaintiff alleged. View "Johnson v. Honorable Stockton Wood" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court denying Appellant's petition for a writ prohibiting the Jefferson Circuit Court from enforcing its order allowing the use of a root-cause analysis report (RCA) at trial for impeachment purposes, holding that the RCA was privileged.At issue on appeal was whether Ky. Rev. Stat. 311.377, as amended, protected the RCA from being admitted at trial. The trial court concluded that the RCA could be used at trial for the purpose of impeachment. Appellant sought a writ of prohibition, but the court of appeals denied the petition. The Supreme Court reversed and granted a writ prohibiting the circuit court from enforcing its order permitting the admission of the privileged material for impeachment purposes, holding that where this case concerned the potential violation of an applicable privilege, the certain special cases exception was met. View "Jewish Hospital v. Honorable Mitch Perry" on Justia Law

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In this medical negligence lawsuit, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals denying Defendants' application for a writ of prohibition seeking to prevent the trial court from enforcing a protective order that forbade them from certain ex parte communications, holding that the trial court abused its discretion.Plaintiff brought this action against the University of Kentucky Medical Center and thirteen healthcare professionals allegedly employed by the Medical Center. Here, Defendants sought to prevent the trial court from enforcing a protective order forbidding them from ex parte communication with Plaintiff's unnamed treating physicians or other healthcare providers employed by the Medical Center. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the court of appeals with direction to issue a writ consistent with this decision, holding that the trial court abused its discretion because the basis of the order was purportedly the personal conviction of the trial court that departed from precedent without appropriate justification. View "Beck v. Honorable Ernesto Scorsone" on Justia Law

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In this case heard after the Kentucky Medical Review Panel Act (MRPA), Ky. Rev. Stat. 216C.005 et seq., was declared to be unconstitutional, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court finding the complaint to be untimely and dismissing this case, holding that the complaint was timely as to the individual defendants.Plaintiffs filed a complaint against advanced Practice Registered Nurse Wynetta Fletcher, Dr. Amjad Bkhari, Dr. James Detherage under the MRPA. After the claims made their way through the medical review panel process, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against the same defendants and the entities that allegedly employed them. After Plaintiffs filed their complaint, the Supreme Court's decision in Commonwealth v. Claycomb, 566 S.W.3d 202 (Ky. 2018), wherein the Court declared the MRPA unconstitutional, was finalized. Thereafter, Defendants filed motions to dismiss, alleging that the claims were untimely and that Plaintiffs could not rely on the tolling provision of the MRPA to extend the deadline. The circuit court dismissed the suit as untimely. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Ky. Rev. Stat. 413.270 applied to Plaintiffs' claims; and (2) Plaintiffs' claims were timely filed under section 413.270 but saved only those claims that were filed with the medical review panel. View "Smith v. Fletcher" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment for the defendants in this insurance dispute, holding that the Legislature has clearly and unequivocally excluded captive insurers from the requirements of the Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act (USCPA), Ky. Rev. Stat. 304.12-230.Plaintiff brought this action against various healthcare defendants. The medical negligence claims were eventually settled. Thereafter, the circuit court denied Plaintiff's motion for declaratory relief as to his bad faith insurance claim against First Initiatives Insurance, Ltd., a foreign captive insurance entity that provides self-insurance for Catholic Health Initiatives, Inc. The court granted summary judgment for Catholic Health and First Initiatives. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that First Initiatives, as a captive insurer, is not subject to the USCPA. View "Merritt v. Catholic Health Initiatives, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the circuit court excluding from evidence a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and granting a directed verdict in favor of Neurosurgical Institute of Kentucky, P.S.C., holding that any error committed by the trial court was harmless.Plaintiff, in his capacity as administrator of the decedent's estate and in his individual capacity, filed a medical negligence suit against Defendants, a private neurosurgery practice, a neurosurgical resident, a hospital, and other medical professionals. During discovery, the hospital filed a motion in liming to exclude the RCA report as a subsequent remedial measure under Ky. R. Evid. 407. The trial court granted the motion. After a trial, the court granted a directed verdict in favor of the defendants. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court erred in excluding the RCA under Rule 407, but the error was harmless; (2) the court of appeals' Rule 407 analysis was not improper, and the RCA was properly excluded under Ky. R. Evid. 403; and (3) the trial court did not err in excluding the RCA when offered for impeachment purposes. View "Thomas v. University Medical Center, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment for Defendants - a hospital and various doctors and nurses - and dismissing Plaintiff's medical malpractice claims, holding that Plaintiffs' claims were properly dismissed.When she was in active labor Plaintiff was admitted to the University of Louisville Hospital. The next day, Plaintiff delivered her baby. During her delivery, Plaintiff suffered a fourth-degree laceration, and two weeks later she was diagnosed with a rectovaginal fistula. Plaintiff sued several healthcare defendants, including the doctors under whose care Plaintiff delivered her baby. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff's claims against her treating physicians were time barred; and (2) no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the treating physicians were ostensible agents of the hospital, and therefore, the lower courts correctly dismissed the claims against the hospital. View "Sneed v. University of Louisville Hospital" on Justia Law