Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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The issue this medical-malpractice suit presented for the Supreme Court's review of Dr. Fawaz Abdraddo’s and Hinds Behavioral Health Services’ interlocutory appeal was whether the trial court erred in denying defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff Audray Johnson, acting pro se, filed suit against the defendants claiming he suffered permanent damage to his kidneys due to lithium treatment he received while under the psychiatric care of Dr. Abdraddo, who was working under contract for Hinds Behavioral Health Services. Finding that Plaintiff failed to support his medical-malpractice claims with expert testimony on whether the defendants breached any applicable standard of care owed to Johnson, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s denial of summary judgment and rendered judgment in favor of defendants. View "Abdrabbo v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court’s review centered on the interplay between the wrongful-death statute and the minors savings clause. In 1999, the Court held “[t]here is no question now that the savings clause, set out in [Section] 15-1-59 of the Mississippi Code, applies to a wrongful death action” brought under Section 11-7-13 of the Mississippi Code. Three years later, the Court found reason not to apply the minors savings clause to the wrongful-death action filed in “Curry v. Turner,” (832 So. 2d 508 (Miss. 2002)). Instead, the Court found the two statutes to be “at irreconcilable odds with one another where there exists a person qualified under the wrongful death statute to bring suit.” In the present wrongful-death lawsuit, the defendants relied on “Curry” to claim the action was time-barred. They argued the minor savings clause did not apply because the minor beneficiaries had a maternal aunt who “qualified under the statute to bring suit.” Notwithstanding that, the Supreme Court found a material distinction between “Curry” and this case: in “Curry,” not only was the minor beneficiaries’ mother qualified to bring suit, but she also in fact filed a wrongful-death action. Thus, under Section 11-7-13’s “one-suit” requirement, the Supreme Court found the minor beneficiaries could not rely on the application of the minor savings clause to file what essentially would be a second wrongful-death action. But here, by contrast, the minor beneficiaries’ aunt never filed a wrongful-death action, though Section 11-7-13 authorized her to do so as the deceased’s sister. Instead, the first and only suit filed was by the deceased’s children. In this case, the Court held that only when someone who is qualified to bring a wrongful-death suit actually files a wrongful-death suit on the minor beneficiaries’ behalf will the minor savings clause not apply, because, once the suit is filed, the running of the statute of limitations is immaterial. The minor savings statute clearly applied in this case; the deceased’s oldest child had two years from when she reached the age of majority to file a wrongful-death suit based on medical negligence. Because she timely filed within this two-year period, the Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Pioneer Community Hospital of Newton v. Roberts" on Justia Law

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On her father’s behalf, Debra Tarvin signed a nursing home Admission Agreement which contained an arbitration provision. After her father Caldwell Tarvin died, she brought a wrongful-death suit against the nursing home, CLC of Jackson, LLC d/b/a Pleasant Hills Community Living Center (“Pleasant Hills”). Caldwell was admitted to Pleasant Hills in August 2007, and Debra signed an Admission Agreement as Caldwell’s “Responsible Party.” Janet Terrell and Annette Tarvin also signed the Agreement as “Family Members” but Caldwell himself did not sign the Agreement. Pleasant Hills moved to dismiss the proceedings and to compel arbitration. Debra responded and argued that Pleasant Hills had waived its right to compel arbitration by participating in the litigation. Debra also argued that Pleasant Hills had “completely ignore[d] the issue of whether or not Mr. Tarvin’s family members had the legal authority to bind him to an arbitration agreement[.]” Specifically, Debra argued that there was “no legal authority, such as a power of attorney or conservatorship” by which she could bind her father to the arbitration agreement, nor could she bind him under the Uniform Healthcare Decisions Act, because “the record is devoid of any evidence” that the physicians relied upon by Pleasant Hills were Caldwell’s primary physicians. The trial court granted Pleasant Hills' motion, and Debra appealed. The relevant statutes at play here were codified as the “Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act,” Mississippi Code Section 41-41-201 to 41-41-229 (the “Act”). The Supreme Court's review of this case found that Act required determination by a primary physician that an individual lacks capacity before a “surrogate” properly can make a healthcare decision for that individual. The record here did not support a finding that a certain "Dr. Thomas" was Caldwell’s primary physician. The Court therefore reversed the trial court’s order compelling arbitration and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Tarvin v. CLC of Jackson, LLC d/b/a Pleasant Hills Community Living Center" on Justia Law

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Tomeka Handy filed a complaint alleging medical negligence against Madison County Nursing Home and Madison County. Handy filed her complaint for wrongful death on October 4, 2012, individually and in her capacity as the administratrix of the estate of her mother, Willie Handy, who was a resident of the nursing home from August 25, 2008, through the date of her death on April 12, 2011. The suit was filed on behalf of all the decedent’s wrongful death beneficiaries. After the county was dismissed, the nursing home filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that it was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law because Handy had not designated an expert witness. Before the summary judgment hearing, Handy filed designations of two expert witnesses. The Circuit Court of Madison County granted the motion for summary judgment because Handy had failed to produce sworn expert testimony in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. Handy filed a motion for reconsideration along with expert witness affidavits, but the circuit court denied the motion for reconsideration. Handy appealed, arguing that the circuit court dismissed her case as a sanction for a discovery violation, and the harsh sanction of dismissal amounted to an abuse of discretion. Because the record established that Handy failed to meet her burden of production on summary judgment, and the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by denying Handy’s motion for reconsideration, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court. View "Handy v. Madison County Nursing Home" on Justia Law

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Charlene Ivy was admitted to East Mississippi State Hospital (“EMSH”) in May 2012, and she died on July 17, 2012. Alleging medical negligence by EMSH staff, Ivy’s son Spencer sent a Notice of Claim letter via certified mail dated July 11, 2013, to EMSH Director Charles Carlisle. Carlisle signed for the letter on July 15, 2013, as evidenced by a return receipt. The definitive question in this appeal was whether Carlisle, as the Director of the East Mississippi State Hospital (“EMSH”), was the proper “chief executive officer” for notice purposes under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (“MTCA”), as opposed to the Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health (“DMH”). The trial judge found that “proper pre-suit notice” required service “upon the executive director of [DMH], not a facility manager of one of the institutions under its jurisdiction and control.” The trial judge found further that the statute of limitations was not tolled because Ivy had “failed to comply with the mandatory provisions of Section 11-46-11(1)” and dismissed Ivy’s complaint with prejudice. The Supreme Court reversed, finding that EMSH’s Director was the CEO under the MTCA, and that Ivy provided the "proper pre-suit notice. View "Ivy v. East Mississippi State Hospital" on Justia Law

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Regina Corr sued Dr. Charles Robinson for medical malpractice. The jury awarded Corr $55,634.78 for past medical expenses and $420,000 for pain and suffering. Robinson filed motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for remittitur, which the trial court denied. On appeal, Dr. Robinson argues that the trial court erred in excluding his proffered testimony, in admitting testimony from Regina’s expert that was outside her expert’s designation, and in denying his request for a remittitur. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment. View "Robinson v. Corr" on Justia Law

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After all defendants to the original complaint filed responsive pleadings in Mary Meeks’s medical malpractice suit, Meeks obtained leave of court and filed a first amended complaint, adding as a defendant the manufacturer of a medical device, Hologic, Inc. A doctor performed an outpatient diagnostic hysteroscopy and an endometrial ablation on Meeks at the Northwest Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale using a Novasure medical device manufactured and sold by Hologic to treat Meeks’s menorrhagia. Meeks did not serve the first amended complaint on Hologic but instead filed a second amended complaint without leave of court or permission from all defendants. Hologic filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Meeks’s claims against Hologic were federally preempted and that Meeks’s claims additionally were barred by the statute of limitations. Because Meeks failed to obtain leave of court or permission from the defendants to file the second complaint, and because the first was never served on Hologic, the Supreme Court found that the statute of limitations had expired against Hologic and that the trial court properly granted Hologic’s motion to dismiss. View "Mary Meeks v. Hologic, Inc." on Justia Law

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On March 24, 2006, the Circuit Court granted Dr. Charles Brock and Dr. Steven Clark summary judgment based on the expiration of the one-year statute of limitations in the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (“MTCA”). In 2010, Bolivar Medical Center (“BMC”), the final remaining defendant, was dismissed with prejudice. Improperly relying on an order certifying the March 24, 2006, order as final, which was later corrected by two separate orders by the trial court, Ginger Pope, administrarix of the Estate of Nancy Springer, requested an additional fourteen days in which to file her appeal. The trial court granted Pope additional time, and she filed her notice of appeal on October 9, 2013. The doctors appealed, and after review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that the trial court erroneously granted Pope additional time to file her appeal. The Court dismissed Pope’s appeal as out of time. View "Pope v. Brock" on Justia Law

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Alan and Linda Anderson filed a medical malpractice action against Sharkey Issaquena Community Hospital but failed to designate an expert timely in accordance with the scheduling order imposed by the Circuit Court. The Andersons filed their expert designation out of time, along with a motion for continuance. The hospital moved to strike the expert designation and moved for summary judgment. The circuit court granted a continuance to the Andersons and denied both the hospital’s motion to strike and its motion for summary judgment. The hospital filed an interlocutory appeal to challenge the denial of its motion for summary judgment. But after review, and finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court. View "Sharkey Issaquena Community Hospital v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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In 2010, Dr. James Peoples treated Mattie Aldridge for recurrent deep-vein thrombosis. During her stay at the hospital, Dr. Peoples placed Aldridge on anticoagulation therapy. Almost two months later, after she had been transferred into the care of Trinity Mission Health & Rehabilitation of Clinton (“Trinity”), Aldridge presented to St. Dominic with a brain bleed. And two months after that, Aldridge died. The following year, Tamara Glenn, Aldridge’s daughter, filed suit alleging that Dr. Peoples negligently had caused Aldridge’s death by prescribing Coumadin. Dr. Peoples filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Glenn v. Peoples" on Justia Law