Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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Under N.D.C.C. 28-01-46, the plain, ordinary and commonly understood meaning of the phrase "wrong organ" requires a doctor to perform a procedure on the incorrect organ; a wrong organ exception does not apply to performing an allegedly incorrect procedure on the correct organ. In 2014, Roxane and Tim Cartwright sued Dr. Beverly Tong and Great Plains Women's Health Center alleging professional negligence stemming from a medical procedure performed following a caesarean section. Defendant Tong performed a salpingectomy, removing Roxane Cartwright's fallopian tubes, rather than performing a tubal ligation, as Roxane Cartwright had consented to. As a proximate result of the negligence of Defendant Tong, Plaintiff alleged she was permanently sterilized and no longer able to bear children, nor could she have the ability to reverse the procedure in order to bear children, as she would have had, if a tubal ligation had been performed. The Cartwrights appealed a district court order and judgment dismissing their complaint without prejudice. The Cartwrights argued the district court erred in dismissing their complaint because the "obvious occurrence" and "wrong organ" exceptions to N.D.C.C. 28-01-46 applied to their claim. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order and judgment. View "Cartwright v. Tong, M.D." on Justia Law

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Mechele Greene appealed a district court's judgment dismissing her claim without prejudice for failure to serve an affidavit from an expert witness on Gary Matthys, M.D., within three months of commencing the action under N.D.C.C. 28-01-46. In 2013, Matthys performed a revision left total hip arthroplasty involving the femoral component, femoral head, and acetabular liner. In late 2015, Greene commenced this medical negligence action by serving a summons and complaint on Matthys. Matthys answered, denying that either he or any of his employees were the "proximate or legal cause of any alleged injury, loss or damage claimed by Plaintiff." Greene's attorney disclosed the existence of an expert witness willing to testify on Greene's behalf in a letter to Matthys' attorney in early 2016. Matthys moved to dismiss Greene's claim under N.D.C.C. 28-01-46, arguing Greene failed to provide an affidavit from an expert witness within three months of commencing this action. Greene opposed the motion. After review, the Supreme Court concluded, as to the use of the term "affidavit," N.D.C.C. 28-01-46 was clear on its face; the statute required Greene to serve Matthys with an affidavit from an expert; and Greene did not met the requirements of N.D.C.C. 28-01-46 as a matter of law. Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court's judgment dismissing Greene's claim against Matthys. View "Greene v. Matthys" on Justia Law