Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Louisiana Supreme Court
Milbert v. Answering Bureau, Inc.
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case centered on whether a non-health care provider could be a joint tortfeasor with a health care provider being sued for medical malpractice. The non-health care provider in this case was an answering service tasked with relaying calls from a patient to their doctor after office hours. The patient learned that the service failed to convey his messages to his doctor despite the doctor giving the service explicit instructions to call. The patient sued the doctor for malpractice, and included the answering service. The service moved to dismiss, claiming that it could not be considered a joint tortfeasor under the statute under which the doctor had been sued. Finding that the clear language of La. R.S. 40:1299.47(A)(2)(a) applied to filing suit against the non-health care provider, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court rulings which granted and affirmed summary judgment in favor of the non-health care provider. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Milbert v. Answering Bureau, Inc." on Justia Law
Benjamin v. Zeichner
In a medical malpractice case, the trial court refused to qualify an expert witness for the plaintiffs, finding he did not satisfy the requirements for expert witnesses under the Medical Malpractice Act. The trial court subsequently granted defendant’s motion for directed verdict based on plaintiffs’ failure to present expert testimony to support their case. The court of appeal reversed these rulings. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the appellate court, finding the lower court erred in its interpretation of the Act; the expert in question was not licensed to practice medicine at the time he was to be qualified as an expert. The Court reinstated the trial court's rulings. View "Benjamin v. Zeichner" on Justia Law
Turner v. Willis Knighton Medical Center
This writ application involved the proper interpretation of La. R.S. 40:1299.47(A)(2)(c), and whether the running of the statutory ninety (90) day grace period in which prescription is suspended in a medical malpractice case begins when a plaintiff’s medical malpractice complaint is dismissed for failure to appoint an attorney chairman, or when plaintiff is notified that his complaint has been dismissed for failure to appoint an attorney chairman. After reviewing the record and the applicable law, the Supreme Court reversed the appellate court's ruling, finding that the 90 day grace period begins to run from the date of dismissal. Because plaintiff failed to file her petition for damages within this 90 day period, her claim was dismissed. View "Turner v. Willis Knighton Medical Center" on Justia Law
McGlothlin v. Christus St. Patrick Hospital
At issue in this case was whether La. Rev. Stat 40:1299.47(H) mandated the admission of a medical review panel when the panel exceeded its statutory authority and rendered an opinion based on Plaintiffs' credibility and not on a medical standard. After submitting their medical malpractice complaint to a medical review panel and the panel rendered an opinion, Plaintiffs Margie and John McGlothlin filed suit against Defendant Christus St. Patrick Hospital. Over both parties' objections, the district court admitted the medical panel's opinion, subject to its redaction of all credibility language. The appellate court reversed, finding the lower court erred in admitting an edited version of the opinion. The court concluded that Plaintiffs proved the hospital's malpractice caused the injury, and awarded Plaintiffs general and special damages. Upon consideration of the vel non of the appellate court's reversal, the Supreme Court found that the medical review panel's opinion was inadmissible, but that the admission was nevertheless harmless. Finding no manifest error in the jury's verdict, the Court reversed the appellate court's judgment and reinstated the district court's judgment. View "McGlothlin v. Christus St. Patrick Hospital" on Justia Law
Johnson v. Morehouse General Hospital
A jury found that Morehouse General Hospital (Morehouse) committed four acts of malpractice that caused an injury to the son of Jonathon and Belinda Johnson. The jury apportioned 80% of the fault to Morehouse, and 20% to the treating physician. The appellate court found the jury was wrong in finding Morehouse liable for three of the four acts, and reversed those figures (20% to Morehouse; 80% to the physician). The Supreme Court was asked to review whether the appellate court properly modified the jury verdict. After considering the record and the law, the Supreme Court found that the appellate court was correct in finding Morehouse was only liable for one act of negligence, but it disagreed with its apportionment of fault. The Court split the fault between the parties 50%-50%.