U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms $15 Million Jury Verdict for Misdiagnosis of Cancer by Radiologist

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.

The jury returned a $15 million verdict in favor of the Websters. The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the district court’s analysis and thus the verdict was affirmed.

In a motion for summary judgment, CDI argued that the radiologist was not its apparent agent under Indiana law because CDI did not employ or contract the radiologist’s services. The district court concluded that the Supreme Court of Indiana’s apparent agency holding, which focused on the principal’s manifestations and the patient’s reliance, concluding, “[g]iven the nature of health care services today, it is entirely possible for a reasonable, prudent patient to conclude from representations made by a medical center that the doctors and health care professionals that serve us patients within the center’s facilities are agents or servants of the center.” Illinois law basically matches this analysis.

Based on these facts and the law, the court of appeals affirmed the jury’s verdict.

Webster v. CDI Indiana, LLC, d/b/a CDI, Indianapolis, 18-3080 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Feb. 27, 2019).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, wrongful death cases, misdiagnosis of cancer cases and traumatic brain injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Highwood, Homewood, Hillside, Melrose Park, Rosemont, River Forest, Oak Park, Long Grove, Worth, Winnetka, Wheaton, Chicago (Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park, Roscoe Village), Wilmette, Evanston, Skokie and Hoffman Estates, Ill.

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