Articles Posted in Federal Civil Procedure

This case arises out of a medical malpractice lawsuit alleged to have been prompted by the negligence of a radiologist. Courtney Webster had a CT scan performed at CDI Indiana LLC‘s diagnostic imaging facility. The radiologist, an independent contractor hired by Medical Scanning Consultants, missed identifying and diagnosing the cancer, which then remained untreated for over a year before being diagnosed.

Webster and her husband, Brian Webster, sued CDI, which in turn insisted that the Websters could not hold it liable because CDI did not directly employ the radiologist who was at fault for not recognizing the cancer.

The district court rejected that argument and applied the law of apparent agency, which instructs that a medical provider is liable if a patient reasonably relied on its apparent authority over the wrongdoer.
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The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit of Chicago held that a prior acts exclusion under an insurance policy issued by a professional liability insurer to a medical-practice insurer excluded coverage. The exclusion was ruled legal only if the medical-malpractice insurer committed an actual wrongful act, not just if it was accused of committing such an act.

MedPro, the insured medical malpractice carrier in this case, was represented by Clyde & Co., LLP of Washington, D.C. The professional liability insurer was American International Specialty Lines Insurance Co. (AISLIC).

MedPro issued medical-malpractice coverage to Dr. Benny Phillips, subject to a $200,000 liability limit.
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In the wrongful death case for Lee Lindemann, filed on behalf of the Estate of Sue Ann Lindemann, the U.S. District Court ruled that estoppel blocked National Fire & Marine Insurance Co. from invoking a “declining balance” provision in its insurance policy. The insurance company asked for a reduction from its $1 million liability limit to $600,000 by subtracting the $400,000 National paid for the defense expenses during two years of litigation.

National’s policy covered Dr. Erick Falconer in this wrongful death case and another defendant, Western Healthcare. In May 2013, the answer that Falconer’s attorney submitted to “Interrogatory 9” said he was insured under a National policy that had a $1 million liability limit.

But when responding to her request for a copy of the insurance policy, Dr. Falconer’s attorneys reportedly took the shortcut of referring back to this interrogatory answer. This maneuver meant that the litigants didn’t see the policy provision that ordinarily would have reduced the liability limit by the amount of defense expenditures.
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The U.S. District Court judge in Chicago handled a bench trial medical malpractice case under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The result was a judgment in favor of a plaintiff that included $13.75 million in noneconomic damages for what the court described as “glaring” medical malpractice that caused the plaintiff to suffer “complete and irreversible failure of both kidneys.”

The U.S. District Court Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel denied the federal government’s motion for reconsideration.

The plaintiff, Kevin Clanton, spent 31 months on dialysis before receiving a kidney transplant. The court stated, “It is reasonably expected that Clanton will spend at least two decades on an extensive daily regimen of anti-rejection and immunosuppressive medications, he will endure two additional rounds of dialysis that will last at least 3-5 years each and he will undergo one, perhaps two more kidney transplants, not to mention periodic hospitalizations, counseling services and a dizzying array of medications, doctor appointments and lab tests.”
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In following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Daimlar AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014) and BNSF Railway Company v. Tyrrleo, 137 S. Ct. 1549 (2017) and the Missouri Court’s earlier opinion in State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Dolan, 512 S.W. 3d 41 (Mo. En Banc 227), the Missouri Supreme Court has dismissed claims filed in the City of St. Louis by nonresident plaintiffs against Bayer Corp. and several subsidiaries for lack of personal jurisdiction.

The plaintiffs in this case had initiated an action against Bayer in St. Louis City Circuit Court to recover damages for personal injuries they allegedly experienced from their use of Essure, a medical device that Bayer manufactures and distributes. The case named 92 plaintiffs, but only seven were Missouri residents. The remaining 85 plaintiffs are not Missouri residents and do not allege they used Essure in Missouri or that they were injured in the state.

None of the Bayer defendants is incorporated in or has a principal place of business in Missouri; thus, these defendants are not “at home” in Missouri.
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Kevin Clanton, 28, underwent a pre-employment screening and was told that he had high blood pressure. He went to a federally financed public healthcare facility where he met with nurse practitioner Denise Jordan. She noted that he had severe hypertension with blood pressure readings of 210/170. Jordan ordered lab work and diagnosed high cholesterol and obesity in addition to hypertension. She gave Clanton medication samples and told him to follow up with her the next week so that he could receive his work clearance.

Clanton did not follow up with Jordan as instructed. About two years later, his employer told him that he needed medical care due to his high blood pressure. For the next year, Clanton consulted again with Jordan who attempted to lower his blood pressure with various medications and address his symptoms such as blurred vision.

Clanton often took extended absences from his treatment and stopped consulting with Jordan for 15 months before resuming treatment with her. Lab tests taken at his latest visit showed that he had Stage IV chronic kidney disease. Clanton was not advised of this condition.
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Philip Madden suffered from numerous medical conditions including obesity, respiratory acidosis, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hyperventilation syndrome and hyperlipidemia. He was admitted to the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Hospital in Chicago several times leading up to his last admission in December 2007.

When he returned for an outpatient appointment, it was found that his labs were abnormal. He was admitted to the hospital. At the time of his admission, the pulmonary consulting services described him as suffering from a wide range of medical issues.

Madden was placed in respiratory isolation. A week after being admitted, he suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest. Madden was intubated and resuscitated, but he never regained consciousness and died later at a long-term care facility.
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During the discovery process in the case of Toni M. Morrison’s personal-injury lawsuit against Walmart, the company argued that she had to provide a written report from her treating physician, Dr. Daniel Mulconrey, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2)(B). The court stated that the report was required because Morrison intended to ask the doctor for expert testimony about three operations performed by other doctors, in addition to testifying about the medical treatment that he did provide.

Walmart’s motion to compel relied on the case of Meyers v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., 619 F.3d 729 (7th Cir. 2010), which held that “a treating physician who has offered to provide expert testimony as to the cause of the plaintiff’s injury, but who did not make that determination in the course of providing treatment, should be deemed to be one ‘retained or especially employed to provide expert testimony in the case,’ and thus is required to submit an expert report in accordance with Rule 26(a)(2).”

The magistrate judge in the federal court in the Central District of Illinois, Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley, explained that under “the plain language” of Rule 26(a)(2) – as amended a few months after the 7th Circuit decided Meyers – “Dr. Mulconrey is not a retained expert and does not have to comply with the reporting requirements of [S]ubsection (a)(2)(B).”
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The U.S. Supreme Court has prevented 592 nonresidents from joining 86 California residents in suing Bristol-Myers Squibb in California state court for personal injury allegedly caused by Plavix, a blood thinner. At the state level, the California Supreme Court concluded that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment did not bar the out-of-state residents from suing the corporation, BMS, in state court.

In the vigorous dissent written by Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s majority opinion explained, “The nonresidents were not prescribed Plavix in California, did not purchase Plavix in California, did not ingest Plavix in California and were not injured by Plavix in California.

The mere fact that other plaintiffs were prescribed, obtained and ingested Plavix in California – and allegedly sustained the same injuries as did the nonresidents – does not allow the state to assert specific jurisdiction over the nonresidents’ claims.”
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According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, the judge’s bench trial decision was affirmed. In this case, Phillip Madden brought a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against the United States from an ultimately fatal medical incident in which he suffered while in the care, custody and control of the Jessie Brown Veterans Administration (V.A.) Medical Hospital. After this bench trial, the district court found in favor of the United States. Madden appealed.

Madden suffered from numerous medical conditions, including but not limited to: morbid obesity, respiratory acidosis, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. He was admitted to the V.A. Hospital several times leading up to his last admission on Dec. 28, 2007.

In this case, the issue was whether the parties’ experts provided sufficient credible evidence. The record contained sufficient evidence in support of the district court’s finding that the United States’ medical expert was credible and that Madden’s medical expert was not credible in this wrongful death claim. He died after he went into cardiac arrest.
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