Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

by
Plaintiff sued Defendants, health care providers, alleging professional negligence. Defendants filed a motion to compel authorization of an informal discussion with the surgeon who performed the Plaintiff’s surgery. The surgeon was not named as a defendant. Upon Plaintiff’s motion, the district court issued a protective order requiring Plaintiff to authorize the surgeon to participate in the informal discussion but restricting Defendants’ questioning of the surgeon to his own treatment of Plaintiff. Defendants filed an interlocutory appeal. Meanwhile, the parties and the surgeon participated in an informal discussion. While the interlocutory appeal was pending, the case was tried to a jury. The district court allowed the surgeon to opine on matters other than his own treatment of Plaintiff. The jury found in favor of Defendants. Thereafter, the court of appeals proceeded to decide the interlocutory appeal and reversed the district court’s protective order, concluding that Defendants were allowed to ask the surgeon about Defendants’ care of Plaintiff and the cause of her injury. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion, holding that the court of appeals lacked appellate jurisdiction over the interlocutory order. View "Howard v. Svoboda" on Justia Law

by
Kirk Lloyd sought to be admitted at United Hospital to stop his pattern of self-harm. United informed Lloyd and his mother, Melinda Binkley, that Lloyd would not be admitted to United’s inpatient mental-health program and released Lloyd. The next night, Lloyd committed suicide. Binkley, acting as trustee, filed a medical-malpractice action against Allina Health System and its staff (collectively, Respondents) alleging that Respondents’ negligent failure to properly examine, evaluate, and provide services to Lloyd caused his death. Respondents filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that they were entitled to immunity for their good-faith actions under the Minnesota Commitment and Treatment Act. The district court denied summary judgment. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Respondents’ good-faith decision to deny Lloyd admission to the inpatient mental health unit is entitled to immunity; but (2) it is not clear that Respondents are entitled to summary judgment on all of Binkley’s claims. Remanded. View "Binkley v. Allina Health System" on Justia Law

by
Kirk Lloyd sought to be admitted at United Hospital to stop his pattern of self-harm. United informed Lloyd and his mother, Melinda Binkley, that Lloyd would not be admitted to United’s inpatient mental-health program and released Lloyd. The next night, Lloyd committed suicide. Binkley, acting as trustee, filed a medical-malpractice action against Allina Health System and its staff (collectively, Respondents) alleging that Respondents’ negligent failure to properly examine, evaluate, and provide services to Lloyd caused his death. Respondents filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that they were entitled to immunity for their good-faith actions under the Minnesota Commitment and Treatment Act. The district court denied summary judgment. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Respondents’ good-faith decision to deny Lloyd admission to the inpatient mental health unit is entitled to immunity; but (2) it is not clear that Respondents are entitled to summary judgment on all of Binkley’s claims. Remanded. View "Binkley v. Allina Health System" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendants for medical malpractice. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for insufficient process and and insufficient service of process. The district court (1) denied the motions to dismiss for insufficient process, concluding that, although the summons and complaint were defective due to the lack of a Minnesota attorney’s signature, the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure granted the court discretion to allow the summons and complaint to be cured by amendment; and (2) denied the motions to dismiss for insufficient service of process as to some defendants, finding those defendants to have been validly served, but granted the motions with respect to the remaining defendants. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the summons and complaint bearing only the signature of an attorney not licensed to practice in Minnesota were defective, but the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing them to be amended; and (2) Plaintiffs in this case produced sufficient evidence of effective service, and Defendants did not satisfy their burden to prove that service was not effective, and therefore, the district court erred in granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss for insufficient service. View "DeCook v. Olmsted Med. Ctr., Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendants for medical malpractice. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for insufficient process and and insufficient service of process. The district court (1) denied the motions to dismiss for insufficient process, concluding that, although the summons and complaint were defective due to the lack of a Minnesota attorney’s signature, the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure granted the court discretion to allow the summons and complaint to be cured by amendment; and (2) denied the motions to dismiss for insufficient service of process as to some defendants, finding those defendants to have been validly served, but granted the motions with respect to the remaining defendants. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the summons and complaint bearing only the signature of an attorney not licensed to practice in Minnesota were defective, but the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing them to be amended; and (2) Plaintiffs in this case produced sufficient evidence of effective service, and Defendants did not satisfy their burden to prove that service was not effective, and therefore, the district court erred in granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss for insufficient service. View "DeCook v. Olmsted Med. Ctr., Inc." on Justia Law

by
Respondents, on behalf of their six-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, alleged that Appellants, a medical doctor and medical center, negligently failed to diagnose Jocelyn's cancer and that if they had timely diagnosed Jocelyn's cancer, her cancer would have been curable. But, Respondents asserted, because of the delayed diagnosis, it was likely Jocelyn's cancer would be fatal. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellants, concluding (1) Minnesota law does not permit a patient to recover damages when a physician's negligence causes the patient to lose only a chance of recovery or survival; and (2) Respondents' proof of causation failed as a matter of law. The court of appeals reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Appellants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Minnesota law permits recovery for "loss of chance" in a medical malpractice action; and (2) Respondents created a genuine issue of material fact on the issue of causation. View "Dickhoff v. Green" on Justia Law