Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Missouri

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If evidence of alleged informed consent is introduced at trial, it should be subject to a withdrawal instruction because the evidence is irrelevant and can only mislead the jury in a medical malpractice case based on negligent performance of care and treatment. In this medical malpractice action, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of a gastroenterologist and his practice group (collectively, Defendants). Plaintiff claimed that an esophageal dilation that the gastroenterologist performed on her was medically unnecessary and below the standard of care. During trial, Plaintiff was cross-examined about an informed consent to the esophageal dilation that she signed prior to an endoscopy. Plaintiff subsequently requested a withdrawal instruction to remove the informed consent from the jury’s consideration. The trial court denied the request. The Supreme Court held that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing the withdrawal instruction because informed consent was irrelevant to the case as pleaded and could only confuse the jury in its determination of the facts. View "Wilson v. Patel" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed an action against St. Anthony’s Medical Center alleging that St. Anthony’s provided negligent medical care that caused him to develop a stage IV pressure ulcer. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff and awarded him $883,000 in compensatory damages. The trial court entered its judgment without post-judgment interest. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that he was entitled to post-judgment interest pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 408.040.1. St. Anthony cross-appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in entering its judgment without post-judgment interest; (2) the trial court’s application of Mo. Rev. Stat. 538.300 to deny Plaintiff post-judgment interest did not violate Plaintiff’s constitutional rights; and (3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in overruling St. Anthony’s motion for remittitur of damages. View "Dieser v. St. Anthony's Medical Center" on Justia Law

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Joseph Mickels died from an incurable, terminal brain tumor. Mickels’ family (collectively, Plaintiffs) brought a wrongful death action against Defendant, a physician, for negligently failing to diagnose the tumor. Plaintiffs presented evidence that even though Mickels certainly would have died of his brain tumor with or without Defendant’s alleged negligence, he would not have died as early as he did had the brain tumor been properly diagnosed. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Defendant, concluding that Plaintiffs could not establish that Defendant’s negligence caused Mickels’ death so as to be actionable under Mo. Rev. Stat. 537.080.1. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that Plaintiffs cannot sue for wrongful death under section 537.080.1, but the allegations in the petition do state a cause of action for negligence that would have been actionable under Mo. Rev. Stat. 537.020 if brought by Mickels’ personal representative. Remanded. View "Mickels v. Danrad" on Justia Law

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Shannon Dodson died as a result of a dissection of her left main coronary artery during a cardiac catheterization. Dodson’s family (Plaintiffs) brought a wrongful death action against the physician who treated Dodson and his employer (collectively, Defendants). The jury returned a verdict in the amount of almost $2 million for economic damages and $9 million for noneconomic damages. The trial court reduced the noneconomic damages to $350,000 pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 538.210(1). Both parties appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the section 538.210 noneconomic damages cap does not violate the separation of powers principle, equal protection, or the right to trial by jury in wrongful death cases; (2) the trial court did not err in granting a directed verdict on the issue of aggravating circumstances damages at the close of Defendants’ evidence; and (3) there was no error in Defendants’ other issues on appeal. View "Dodson v. Ferrara" on Justia Law