Justia Medical Malpractice Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Hawaii
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The Supreme Court vacated the intermediate court of appeals' (ICA) judgment affirming the judgment of the circuit court in favor of Dr. Robert Mastroianni on Plaintiff's claim that Dr. Mastroianni's negligence was the cause of Robert Frey's death, holding that the circuit court erred in holding that Plaintiff failed as a matter of law to present sufficient evidence of causation to make out a claim. Among other things, the circuit court held that it had no jurisdiction over Plaintiff's "loss of chance" claim - a claim that Dr. Mastroianni's negligence caused Frey to lose a chance of recovery or survival - because the claim was not raised before the medical claim conciliation panel (MCCP). The ICA affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the lower courts' judgments, holding (1) while a "loss of chance" is not a separate compensable injury under Hawai'i law, it may be considered in determining legal causation; (2) Plaintiff asserted a medical negligence claim that met the requirements of the MCCP statute, and therefore, the circuit court had jurisdiction over Plaintiff's negligence claim, including its loss of chance arguments; and (3) the circuit court erred in granting judgment as a matter of law to Dr. Mastroianni. View "Estate of Frey v. Mastroianni" on Justia Law

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After Defendant performed surgery on Plaintiff’s back, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging medical negligence and negligent failure to obtain informed consent. Defendant moved for summary judgment, alleging that he was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff’s claim of negligent failure to obtain informed consent because Plaintiff did not have medical expert testimony as to the “materiality” of the risk to support his claim. The circuit court agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant as to both of Plaintiff’s claims. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s judgment as to the claim of negligent failure to obtain informed consent, holding (1) the common law materiality factors do not apply to a claim of negligent failure to obtain informed consent, and the circuit court erred in relying upon them instead of on Haw. Rev. Stat. 671-3(b); (2) consequently, Defendant was not entitled to judgment as a matter of law based on lack of expert testimony as to the common law materiality factors; and (3) the circuit court erred in concluding that Defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff’s claim of negligent failure to obtain informed consent. View "Garcia v. Robinson" on Justia Law