Justia Oklahoma Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Medical Malpractice
Douglas v. Cox Retirement Properties, Inc.
Plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against Defendant Cox Retirement Properties, alleging Richard Douglas died as a result of the facility's negligent care and treatment. Defendant moved to dismiss the case for Plaintiff's failure to comply with 12 O.S. Supp. 2009 19. Section 19 was enacted in 2009 as part of H.B. 1603, known as the Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform Act of 2009. Plaintiff responded to the motion to dismiss, arguing the CLRA of 2009 was unconstitutional logrolling in violation of the single-subject rule of Article 5, section 57 of the Oklahoma Constitution. The trial court granted the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and certified the dismissal order for immediate review. The Supreme Court granted Plaintiff's Petition for Certiorari and held that hold that H.B. 1603 violated the single-subject rule of Article 5, section 57 of the Oklahoma Constitution and was unconstitutional and void in its entirety. View "Douglas v. Cox Retirement Properties, Inc." on Justia Law
Howard v. Zimmer, Inc.
Plaintiff-Appellant Brian C. Howard, M.D. received a knee replacement manufactured by Defendant Sulzer Orthopedics, Inc. The implant failed and had to be removed allegedly because it did not bond to Howard's bone. Howard asserted that the implant was unsuccessful because Sulzer left oily residue on the implant in violation of federal regulations. The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit certified a single question to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The Court in turn reformulated the question as one of first impression: "[w]hether 21 U.S.C. 337 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), [which provides] that all violations of the Act shall be prosecuted in the name of the United States, prohibits Oklahoma from recognizing a claim for negligence per se based on violation of a federal regulation under the Medical Device Amendments (MDA) to the FDCA?" Howard asserted that Oklahoma law would allow a claim for negligence per se to proceed based on the violation of a federal regulation, and that such a position was supported by a recent opinion promulgated by the Oklahoma Court. Sulzer argued that federal regulations are not the type of law which should give rise to negligence per se claims. The manufacturer also insisted that recognizing such a claim would contravene legislative intent where no clear standard of conduct is outlined. The Oklahoma Supreme Court was not persuaded by Sulzer's arguments and answered the single reformulated first impression question, "no." View "Howard v. Zimmer, Inc." on Justia Law
Ledbetter v. Howard
Plaintiffs-Appellees Guy and Midge Ledbetter sued Defendant-Appellant Derek Howard and his employer Radiology Services of Ardmore, Inc. for malpractice. Plaintiffs alleged that the doctor misread an x-ray which caused delayed treatment of his rapidly deteriorating left foot. A jury found in favor of Defendant. Plaintiffs moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial. The trial court denied the judgment but granted a new trial when evidence of juror misconduct surfaced. Defendants appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case. The foreperson assured the trial court in voir dire that she would not allow her expertise and experience to override the evidence presented at trial. Nevertheless, she not only did so on a personal level, but went further by communicating her alleged professional knowledge and experiences to her fellow jurors with the apparent intent to sway their votes in favor of Defendants. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that: (1) the juror's affidavit was admissible under the "extraneous prejudicial information" exception to 12 O.S. 2011 sec. 2606(B); and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering a new trial for juror misconduct during deliberations. View "Ledbetter v. Howard" on Justia Law
Parris v. Limes
The issue on appeal to the Supreme Court concerned medical malpractice claims that Plaintiff Bob Parris brought against the medical providers who were involved in his prostate cancer diagnosis, the surgery to remove it and his subsequent treatment. The trial court twice rendered judgment in favor of the defendants; the first trial court judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. On remand, Plaintiff had a jury trial on his claim against the pathologist who identified the cancerous cells. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the doctor. The remaining defendants sought and obtained summary judgments based on uncontroverted expert testimony they acted in accord with medical standards. Plaintiff's appeal of the judgment on the jury verdict in favor of the pathologist was dismissed as untimely, while Division III of the Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the summary judgments for all other defendants. Upon certiorari review, the Supreme Court found the appellate court properly affirmed the summary judgments except on Plaintiff's claim against the surgeon who continued post-surgical treatment of Plaintiff without disclosing the removed prostate showed no signs of cancer. View "Parris v. Limes" on Justia Law
Shull v. Reid
In 2009, Brian and Patricia Shull filed a medical malpractice action against Respondents Monica Reid, Andrew Elimian, Andrew Wagner, Eric Knudston and the OU Medical Center, alleging that doctors failed to properly diagnose a cytomegalovirus infection that adversely impacted Mrs. Shull's pregnancy. Respondents moved for partial summary judgment, contending that the Shulls could only recover damages related to the medical cost of continuing the pregnancy offset by the cost of terminating the pregnancy. The district court found the issue was one of first impression, and that it lacked guidance because there were no published Supreme Court opinions addressing the damages available to parents of an unhealthy, abnormal child who brought claims for wrongful birth and medical malpractice. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that in a wrongful birth action alleging malpractice, the measure of damages allowable is the extraordinary medical expenses and other pecuniary losses proximately caused by the negligence, and not the normal and foreseeable costs of raising a normal, healthy child until it reaches the age of majority. Parents cannot recover for emotional distress or loss of consortium. The Court remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. View "Shull v. Reid" on Justia Law