Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Montana Supreme Court
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Plaintiff gave birth to Child at Hospital. Complications arose prior to and after Child's delivery, leading to problems with Child's brain development. Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of Child, later sued the doctor who delivered Child and Hospital. Plaintiff subsequently settled her claims with the doctor. The district court granted summary judgment to Hospital on all of Plaintiff's claims. This appeal arose out of pre-trial rulings made by the district court in Plaintiff's litigation with Hospital. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) extending discovery deadlines; (2) granting summary judgment to Hospital on Plaintiff's agency claims; (3) granting summary judgment to Hospital on Plaintiff's Consumer Protection Act Claim; (4) granting summary judgment to Hospital on Plaintiff's joint venture claim; and (5) granting summary judgment to Hospital on Plaintiff's negligent credentialing claim. View "Brookins v. Mote" on Justia Law

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Katherine Beehler-Goodson was the mother of minor children E.G. and R.G., the wife of Plaintiff Robert Goodson, and the sister of Plaintiff Tony Beehler. While Katherine was undergoing a myelogram, bacteria were introduced into her cerebrospinal fluid, resulting in a meningitis infection, which caused her death. Plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice claim against Eastern Radiological Associates; Dr. Anne Giuliano, the radiologist who performed the myelogram; and St. Vincent Healthcare, alleging that Dr. Giuliano negligently failed to wear a mask during the myelogram, which resulted in bacteria traveling from Dr. Giuliano's uncovered mouth into Katherine's spinal column. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants, finding (1) Plaintiff's proposed expert witness, Dr. Patrick Joseph, was not qualified to offer expert testimony on the applicable standards of care, breach, or causation; and (2) without Dr. Joseph's expert testimony, Plaintiffs lacked the necessary expert witness to establish the elements of medical negligence. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the court abused its discretion by excluding Dr. Joseph's testimony on the applicable standards of care and causation. View "Beehler v. E. Radiological Assocs., P.C." on Justia Law

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After giving birth to a newborn who suffered severe developmental issues resulting from a lack of glucose, Joe and Kathryn Norris (Norris) filed a medical malpractice action against, among others, Dr. Blayne Fritz, a physician who cared for the newborn. The morning before trial, Fritz moved to limit the scope of the testimony of Dr. Tom Strizich, the treating pediatrician, arguing that Norris failed to provide sufficient notice as to Strizich's opinions regarding a newborn's blood glucose level. The district court granted Fritz's motion, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Fritz. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded with instructions to the district court to vacate its judgment and order a new trial, holding that the district court abused its discretion when it excluded Strizich's testimony regarding the appropriate standard of care where (1) Strizich was a hybrid witness for purposes of standard of care testimony; and (2) Fritz could not reasonably claim surprise or prejudice from Strizich's proposed testimony. View "Norris v. Fritz" on Justia Law

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After Madeleine Willson died of metastatic breast cancer and acute aspiration pneumonia, Robert Willson filed a complaint against Benefis Hospitals, Peace Hospice, and Dr. T. Brice Addison for medical malpractice. Robert alleged that the administration of medication expedited Madeleine's death and that Madeleine did not give informed consent to administration of the medications. Benefis filed two motions for summary judgment, the first of which argued that Robert had failed to establish causation through qualified expert testimony. Robert filed a motion for summary judgment seeking default judgment as a sanction for Benefis' alleged spoliation of evidence. The district court granted summary judgment on the issue of causation in favor of Benefis and Dr. Addison. The court denied Robert's motion, finding Robert failed to prove spoliation. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in granting summary judgment to Benefis and Dr. Addison, and (2) although the district court denied Robert's motion for summary judgment for the wrong reason, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion where sanctions were not appropriate. View "In re Estate of Willson v. Addison" on Justia Law