State Supreme Court Reverses Summary Judgment in Favor of Medical Provider Regarding Expert Medical Witness

Betty Collins appealed from a summary judgment that was entered in favor of the defendants Ricardo Herring D.C. and Herring Chiropractic Center LLC. She filed a lawsuit for damages alleging medical malpractice with respect to the treatment of her knee, shoulder and back pain.

Collins’s knee was treated with a cold pack. The evidence in the case viewed in a light most favorable to Collins showed that the cold pack had been in the refrigerator for seven days, that it had not been thawed when Collins arrived for her appointment and that it was frozen hard on the day of her treatment compared to the treatment on other visits.

Collins reported that she felt heat when the cold pack was removed from her knee. She developed blisters on her knee following the treatment and later scarring.

In the summary judgment motion that was brought by the defendants, it was argued that Collins had not produced any evidence that demonstrated that Dr. Herring’s treatment fell below the applicable standard of care.

The defendants maintained that Collins failed to present testimony from a similarly situated expert witness because she had not designated an expert witness as required under the State Medical Liability Act to testify that Dr. Herring breached his duty of care in the treatment of Collins.

The state supreme court reversed the grant of that summary judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.

“In the instance case, the procuring and application of a cold pack was within the exclusive control of the defendants, and no evidence was presented indicating that Collins contributed to her injuries. Blistering and subsequent scarring does not ordinarily occur following the application of a cold pack, absent negligence. The causative relationship between Collins’ injury and defendants’ acts are such that it can be readily understood, to the extent that a lay person can reliably determine the issue of causation without independent expert testimony to assist in that determination.”

Accordingly, the Supreme Court has returned the case for further disposition and that most importantly, Collins does not have to have a medical expert on the issue described in the court’s opinion.

Collins v. Herring Chiropractic Center, LLC, No. 1151173, Supreme Court of Alabama, Feb. 17, 2017.

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling medical malpractice lawsuits, birth trauma injury lawsuits, birth injury cases, cerebral palsy cases, traumatic brain injury cases and hospital negligence lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Deerfield, Willowbrook, Wheaton, Joliet, Aurora, St. Charles, Geneva, Midlothian, Mundelein, New Lenox, Lemont, Long Grove, Grayslake, Crystal Lake, University Park, Chicago (Jefferson Park, Hyde Park, Irving Park, Horner Park, Hegewisch, Gold Coast, Gladstone Park, Garfield Park, Englewood, Edison Park, Edgewater, Chinatown), Hinsdale, Highland Park and Fox River Grove, Ill.

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