Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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After a surgical procedure was performed on Elliot Kaplan as a result of a misdiagnosis, the Kaplans filed suit against Mayo for medical malpractice, breach of contract, lack of informed consent, and loss of consortium. The district court dismissed all claims against Dr. Nagorney, the surgeon who performed the medical procedure; the district court granted Mayo's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the breach-of-contract claim; and the jury returned a verdict for defendants on the malpractice claim. On appeal, the court upheld the jury verdict but vacated the judgment in favor of Mayo on the breach-of-contract claim, and held that the district court erred by requiring expert testimony to establish a contract breach and remanded the claim to trial. The district court subsequently entered judgment for Mayo. The court concluded that substantial evidence supports the district court's finding that Dr. Nagorney did not promise to do a biopsy of Elliot’s pancreas during the surgery and that no meeting of the minds occurred to form a contract. The court rejected plaintiffs' claim that this court, in Kaplan I, forbid defendants' use of expert testimony to establish a defense to the claim of a special contract in the performance of the operation. Because the district court committed no error, the court upheld the district court's factual findings. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Kaplan v. Mayo Clinic" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was released from a twenty-year period of commitment when a jury found him responsible by reason of insanity, he filed suit against various psychologists, psychiatrists, and other employees, alleging medical malpractice under Nebraska state law. Plaintiff also alleged violation of his constitutional rights to be free from unnecessary confinement and free from retaliation for seeking access to courts. The court concluded that the district court did not err by dismissing the medical malpractice claim where plaintiff failed to comply with the requirements set forth by Nebraska's State Tort Claims Act (STCA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 81-8, 209 et seq. Assuming that Nebraska waived its sovereign immunity, plaintiff still failed to bring the suit in the district court of the county in which the act or omission occurred pursuant to the STCA. In regard to the district court's dismissal of the unnecessary confinement claim, the court concluded that plaintiff only alleged defendants' actions were negligent or, at worst, grossly negligent. Therefore, defendants are entitled to qualified immunity where actions that are merely negligent or grossly negligent do no implicate the protections of the Due Process Clause. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's retaliation claim where plaintiff failed to address the claim in his opening brief. View "Montin v. Moore" on Justia Law