State Supreme Court Finds That Release of Health Care Center Releases Employees From Liability

The Supreme Court of Rhode Island has held that the release of a master or principal or employer from liability also releases a servant or employee from potential legal liability.

In this case, Michelle Hall sued Tavares Pediatric Center Inc., an assisted living facility, alleging liability for injuries her daughter suffered while being care for there. Before trial, the parties settled. The plaintiff signed a joint tortfeasor release that exempted Tavares agents and employees. The court then dismissed the case.

Later, Hall sued two nurses who provided care to her daughter at the same Tavares Pediatric Center. The nurses moved for summary judgment on the basis that under state law, they and Tavares were a single tortfeasor and, therefore, Tavares released the nurses. The trial court agreed and an appeal was taken.

Affirming the trial judge’s order dismissing the case against the nurses, the Rhode Island Supreme Court noted that the law clearly states the master and servant or principal and agent are to be considered a single tortfeasor. Accordingly, the court concluded, the release of one results in the release of both.

Tavares, as the master, and the defendant nurses, as servants, were a single tortfeasor subject to the signed release. Consequently, Hall’s claims against the nurses were precluded. The dismissal on the summary judgment motion stands.

Hall v. Hornby, 2017 WL 6210848 (R.I.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling assisted living care center lawsuits, nursing home abuse lawsuits, nursing home bed sore cases and nursing home negligence lawsuits for individuals, families and their 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 Maywood, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Flossmoor, New Lenox, Lincolnwood, Palos Hills, Palatine, Arlington Heights, Orland Park, Oak Park, Park Ridge, Chicago (Pullman, Pilsen, Kenwood, Hyde Park, Wrigleyville, Bridgeport, Lawndale, Englewood), Deerfield, Vernon Hills and River Forest, Ill.

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