Articles Posted in Utah Supreme Court

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Plaintiff underwent several medical procedures performed by Defendants, two medical doctors. Two years and three months after the treatment ended, Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against Defendants. Upon a motion by Dr. Grigsby, one of the doctors, the district court dismissed Plaintiff's claim, finding that the claim was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different grounds, holding (1) the court of appeals correctly found that, as a matter of law, Dr. Grigsby failed to show Plaintiff filed her claim more than two years after she discovered or should have discovered her legal injury; but (2) when a plaintiff alleges a course of negligent treatment, a defendant may show that the claim is barred by the two-year statute of limitations without identifying the specific procedure within the course of treatment that caused the patient's injury. Rather, to prevail, a defendant need only show that the plaintiff filed her claim more than two years after she discovered that the course of treatment was negligent. Remanded. View "Arnold v. Grigsby" on Justia Law

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This case involved a medical malpractice lawsuit brought by the Wilsons on behalf of their son, Jared. The Wilsons alleged that employees of IHC Hospitals breached their duty of care during Ms. Wilson's labor and delivery of Jared. The Wilsons further claimed that IHC's negligence caused Jared to suffer severe brain damage. The jury found that IHC did not act negligently. The Supreme Court vacated the jury's verdict, holding (1) IHC's trial tactics violated the court's in limine order excluding collateral source evidence at trial, misled the trial court, and substantially prejudiced the jury; (2) the collateral source rule precludes both explicit reference and methodical allusion to collateral source benefits; and (3) because IHC repeatedly disregarded the in limine order and violated the collateral source rule, the case must be remanded. View "Wilson v. IHC Hosps., Inc." on Justia Law

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Patient received medical treatment from Nurse at Medical Clinic. Nurse prescribed Patient at least six medications. With all of these drugs in his system, Patient shot and killed his wife. Patient subsequently pled guilty to aggravated murder. Patient's children (Plaintiffs) filed suit through their conservator against Nurse, her consulting physician, and Medical Clinic (collectively Defendants), alleging negligence in the prescription of the medications that caused Patient's violent outburst and his wife's death. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding that Nurse owed no duty of care to Plaintiffs because no patient-health care provider relationship existed at the time of the underlying events between Plaintiffs and Defendants. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that healthcare providers owe nonpatients a duty to exercise reasonable care in the affirmative act of prescribing medications that pose a risk of injury to third parties. View "Jeffs v. West" on Justia Law

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After giving birth to a stillborn male, Father and Mother filed suit against the United States in federal district court, alleging medical negligence and requesting damages for their pain and suffering, for the wrongful death of their child, and for expenses related to their child's death. The Supreme Court accepted certification to answer whether Utah Code Ann. 78-11-6 allows a claim to be made for the wrongful death of an unborn child. At the time the claim was filed, Utah's wrongful death statute stated that "a parent or guardian may maintain an action for the death or injury of a minor child when the injury or death is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another." Although there was no majority opinion, four members of the Court held that the statute allows an action for the wrongful death of an unborn child because the term "minor child," as used in the statute, includes an unborn child. View "Carranza v. United States" on Justia Law