Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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After a patient's death, the patient's family sued the VA for medical malpractice. The VA settled with the family and determined that the settlement was "for the benefit of" plaintiff, who was a treating physician. Plaintiff then filed suit against the VA alleging violations of his due process rights and violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq. The court concluded that the district court did not err by dismissing the procedural due process claim because plaintiff failed to plead the deprivation of a constitutionally protected interest; the district court did not err by dismissing plaintiff's substantive due-process claim because plaintiff's pleadings were insufficient; the VA's factfinding procedures were adequate and the district court properly rejected de novo review; the district court did not grossly abuse its discretion by denying plaintiff's motion to supplement the record; and the VA's decision was not arbitrary or capricious, and the district court did not err by granting summary judgment. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Rochling v. Dept. of VA, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was the mother of T.A., whom Plaintiff alleged suffered irreparable brain damage after T.A.'s oxygen saturation plummeted from ninety-four percent to fifty percent following surgery. Plaintiff brought a medical malpractice action as next friend of T.A. against the medical center, a nurse involved in T.A.'s care, and the nurse's employer. A jury found for Defendants. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court committed reversible error in its conduct of the trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) assuming it was error to deny Plaintiff's peremptory strike of a certain juror, the error was harmless; and (2) the court did not err in declining to permit T.A.'s caregiver to testify through an interpreter during the trial. View "Avichail v. St. John's Mercy Health Sys." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sued defendant for negligence and loss of consortium when defendant performed an unsuccessful spinal fusion surgery on one plaintiff. The jury found in favor of defendant and plaintiffs subsequently appealed the court's denial of their motion for a new trial. The court held that the district court did not clearly and prejudicially abuse its considerable discretion in prohibiting the admission of the evidence concerning defendant's other patients under Rule 404(b). The court also held that the district court's exclusion of the evidence was also proper under Rule 403 because any relevance was substantially outweighed by the evidence's greater potential to prejudice defendant unfairly, confuse the jury, and cause undue delay. The court further held that the district court did not abuse its discretion where it properly deferred to the jury's weighing of conflicting expert testimony about whether defendant properly placed the pedicle screws. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Bair, et al. v. Callahan" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and his wife (the Kaplans) filed suit against Mayo Clinic Rochester, Inc., other Mayo entities (collectively, Mayo), and Mayo doctors David Nagorney and Lawrence Burgart, making a number of claims arising out of plaintiff's erroneous diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and plaintiff's surgery based on that diagnosis. The Kaplans subsequently appealed the judgments in favor of Mayo and Dr. Burgart on their negligent-failure-to-diagnose and contract claims. The court held that the error, if any, in admitting a certain medical file, which included insurance documents, into evidence did not affect the Kaplans' substantial rights and the Kaplans were not prejudiced by the district court's decision not to give a limiting instruction. The court agreed with the district court that the Kaplans' assertion that the biopsy slides might have been tampered with was based on rank speculation where they failed to present evidence that the slides had been changed in any way. The court also held that the Kaplans have shown no basis for granting them a new trial on their claim for negligent failure to diagnose. The court held, however, that the district court erred in granting judgment as a matter of law where the Kaplans have offered sufficient evidence in their case-in-chief to support a breach-of-contract claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Kaplan, et al. v. Mayo Clinic, et al." on Justia Law

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This case arose when Pauline Thomas brought her daughter, Jane Doe and four of her grandchildren, including John Doe and R.N.T. to the Emergency Room at the Hennepin County Medical Center and reported her concerns that Jane Doe might have been sexually abused by R.N.T. Appellants brought suit against appellees claiming that the 72-hour hold placed on John Doe, the internal examination of Jane Doe, and the examination of John Doe violated the children's rights under the Fourth Amendment and that the seizure and search of both children violated the Fourteenth Amendment rights of all appellants. At issue was whether the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of appellees and denied appellants' motion for partial summary judgment on their claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The court rejected appellants' contention that appellees failed to move for summary judgment on all of appellants' claims; that the district court ignored questions of material fact; and that the district court at times used the wrong legal standards when analyzing the facts. The court also held that because it affirmed the district court's adverse grant of summary judgment against appellants, the court did not reach the denial of appellants' partial motion for summary judgment. View "Doe, et al. v. Dr. Al Tsai, M.D., et al." on Justia Law