Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Professional Malpractice & Ethics
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court denying Wind River Rehabilitation and Wellness's motion to compel arbitration in this action alleging medical malpractice, holding that the district court erred in denying the motion to compel arbitration.Plaintiff, the wrongful death representative of Loy Forshee, filed this action against Wind River, where Forshee lived when he fell and broke his hip, alleging medical malpractice. Wind River moved to compel arbitration under the parties' arbitration agreement. The district court denied the motion, concluding that Wind River waived his right to arbitration by waiting fourteen months to compel arbitration. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the record did not support a conclusion that Wind River waived its right to arbitrate. View "Empres at Riverton, LLC v. Osborne" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of Respondents in this medical negligence suit brought pursuant to the West Virginia Medical Professional Liability Act, holding that the circuit court did not err by granting summary judgment for Respondents.In his lawsuit, Petitioner claimed that Respondents overprescribed and improperly filled prescriptions for controlled substances that were known to have addictive qualities, causing him to develop an addiction to pain medication. Respondents filed motions to dismiss asserting that Petitioner's complaint was filed after the expiration of the relevant statute of limitations. The circuit court converted the motions to dismiss for motions for summary judgment and granted summary judgment for Respondents. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err by granting summary judgment for Respondents and dismissing the complaint. View "Sager v. Duvert" on Justia Law

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The Louisiana Supreme Court granted certiorari in this medical malpractice matter in order to consider whether the gross negligence standard of La.R.S. 29:771(B)(2)(c) was to be considered by a medical review panel when the medical treatment occurred during a declared state of public health emergency pursuant to La.R.S. 29:766(A). To this, the Court found the trial court did not err in declaring that La.R.S. 29:771(B)(2)(c) should not be considered or applied in medical review panel proceedings and, therefore, did not err in granting Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. Likewise, the court of appeal did not err in its affirmation. Thus, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Sebble v. St. Luke's #2, LLC d/b/a St. Luke's Living Center, et al." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the two pretrial orders of the trial court challenged by the defendant physician in a health care liability action in this interlocutory appeal, holding that this Court declines to modify its holding in George v. Alexander, 931 S.W.2d 517 (Tenn. 1996), and that the collateral source rule remains in effect in this case.The first pretrial order excluded evidence that a nonparty physician was the cause-in-fact of the claimant's injuries because Defendant did not amend his answer to include that allegation, as required under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 8.03, as applied in George. In the second order, the trial court held that Tenn. Code Ann. 29-26-199, a provision that partially abrogates the common-law collateral source rule in health care liability actions, did not abrogate the collateral source rule under the facts of this case. The Supreme Court affirmed both pretrial rulings at issue in this interlocutory appeal and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the trial court did not err. View "Crotty v. Flora" on Justia Law

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Bauer worked as a physician for over 50 years, most recently in pain management at ANA. Bauer’s practice, which included regular prescribing controlled substances, became the subject of a DEA investigation. Bauer was indicted for knowingly or intentionally” distributing or dispensing controlled substances “except as authorized,” 21 U.S.C. 841(a), concerning 14 patients. The prosecution’s expert, Dr. King, opined that Bauer did not sufficiently establish a diagnosis and ignored “red flags.” Each patient had a history of at least two mental health conditions; several had histories of illegal drug use. Bauer drastically exceeded recommended thresholds and prescribed opioids together with other controlled substances. One patient died from an accidental overdose. None showed improvement. A drug task force officer alerted Bauer that a patient was selling his pills. Bauer did not terminate the patient but provided additional prescriptions. Several pharmacies would not fill his prescriptions. Dr. King opined that Bauer prescribed opioids “in most cases” to support “addiction and dependency,” “without a legitimate medical purpose.”The Sixth Circuit affirmed Bauer’s convictions and 60-month sentence (below the Guidelines range). A jury could reasonably find that Bauer knew his prescriptions were without authorization, satisfying the mens rea requirement clarified by the Supreme Court in 2022. The district court did not plainly err in its jury instruction on the good-faith defense. The court rejected Bauer’s challenges to the exclusion of his proffered expert witnesses and his argument that he had a constitutional right to testify as an expert in his own defense. View "United States v. Bauer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court that two expert reports provided to support Plaintiff's claims for negligence provided the information required by the Texas Medical Liability Act, Tex. Civ. Proc. & Rem. Code 74.351(a), (l), (r)(6), holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant's motion to dismiss.Plaintiff, the guardian of a care facility resident, sued Defendant, the facility, alleging negligence. The trial court concluded that the two expert reports provided by Plaintiff to support the claims provided a fair summary of the experts' opinion regarding the standard of care, breach, and the cause of injury, as required by the Act. The court of appeals reversed on the ground that the reports lacked sufficient detail regarding the appropriate standard of care and breach. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the proffered reports provided a fair summary of the experts' opinions as to the appropriate standard of care and breach of that standard. View "Uriegas v. Kenmar Residential HCS Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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Pretrial detainee Wilson complained to Philadelphia Federal Detention Center medical staff about a lump on his testicle in November 2017. They allegedly stated that such a lump was probably cancerous. Wilson subsequently complained that his condition worsened but received no further treatment. Wilson was transferred to Bureau of Prisons custody, where a urologist determined in February 2018 that the lump was cancerous. Wilson's right testicle was surgically removed. Wilson believed that if his cancer had been addressed earlier, treatment would not have involved chemotherapy and surgery.Wilson alleged medical negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The court granted extensions for Wilson (pro se) to act on Pennsylvania Rule 1042.3, which requires medical malpractice plaintiffs to certify either that they have expert support for their claims or will proceed without an expert. Wilson explained that he wanted an expert but conceded the impossibility of obtaining one during the pandemic prison lockdowns. He stated that his medical records would demonstrate that his injury “was not inevitable" and specifically identified documents as discoverable material to substantiate his allegations, The court granted the government summary judgment stating that, while a factfinder could find without expert testimony that the delay in treatment was unreasonable, the issue of whether the delay caused the need to remove Wilson’s testicle required expert testimony.The Third Circuit reversed, finding that the FTCA does not incorporate Rule 1042.3. Wilson did not otherwise have an adequate opportunity to seek out an expert or conduct discovery due to his unique position as a pro se inmate during the pandemic. View "Wilson v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeal concluding that the appellate court, exercising its authority to issue an interlocutory writ of certiorari, could not immediately review a trial court's ruling denying Petitioners' motion to dismiss a medical malpractice action brought them on the basis that Respondent's proposed expert did not meet the requirements of the Medical Malpractice Act, Fla. Stat. 766, holding that there was no error.Respondent sued Petitioners for medical malpractice and included within her presuit notices the affidavit of Dr. James DeStephens. Petitioners moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that DeStephens did not satisfy the statutory requisites. The circuit court denied the motion to dismiss, after which Petitioners filed a certiorari petition. The court of appeal dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction on the basis that Respondent had not established irreparable harm. The Supreme Court affirmed on different grounds, holding that it was Petitioners' failure to show that the trial court had departed from the essential requirements of the law, not their failure to demonstrate irreparable harm, that kept them from establishing their entitlement to relief. View "University of Fla. Bd. of Trustees v. Carmody" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the superior court granting Defendant's motion to compel production of a complete, unreacted copy of a settlement agreement between Plaintiffs and the former codefendants who settled Plaintiffs' claims, holding that the trial justice abused her discretion in granting Defendant's motion.In granting Defendant's motion to compel production, the trial justice concluded that the amount paid in accordance with the settlement agreement was not discoverable "pursuant to Rhode Island and federal law." When Plaintiffs failed to comply with the order the superior court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court quashed the decision below and remanded the case, holding that the trial justice abused her discretion in granting Defendant's motion to compel production of a complete, unreacted copy of the settlement agreement. View "Noonan v. Sambandam" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in favor of Roger Williams Medical Center (RWMC) in this case alleging medical malpractice and negligent credentialing claims, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the motion justice erred in granting RWMC's motion for summary judgment on the ground that Plaintiff could not prove his negligent credentialing and medical malpractice claims without expert testimony. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) expert testimony was required to prove Plaintiff's apparent agency claim against RWMC, and because Plaintiff failed to provide expert testimony, RWMC could not be held liable under an agency theory; and (2) Plaintiff's inability to present expert testimony establishing the standard of care applicable to RWMC in credentialing its doctors was fatal to Plaintiff's negligent credentialing claim. View "Dockray v. Roger Williams Medical Center" on Justia Law