Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Plaintiff was not entitled to relief on her constitutional challenges to Maine’s Wrongful Birth Statute. After she gave birth to a healthy child, Plaintiff brought this lawsuit against Merck & Co., Inc., claiming that a contraceptive implant manufactured by Merck and/or its applicator were defective. Plaintiff also sued the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging that a doctor at a federally-funded community health center unsuccessfully implanted the Merck product. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint in reliance on Maine’s Wrongful Birth Statute. The district court dismissed Plaintiff’s case, rejecting her constitutional challenges to the Wrongful Birth Statute. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s challenges to the constitutionality of the Wrongful Birth Statute under the Maine and United States Constitutions failed. View "Doherty v. Merck & Co., Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of Defendant after this Court remanded the case, holding that any error in the district court’s evidentiary rulings was harmless and that the district court did not commit prejudicial error when it found that Plaintiffs waived their negligence claim. Plaintiffs Barbara and Michael Bradley filed a second amended complaint alleging medical negligence, battery, and the failure to obtain informed consent. The district court granted summary judgment on the battery claim. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict in Defendant’s favor. The First Circuit vacated the judgment and remanded for a new trial on account of an error in excluding the testimony of Plaintiffs’ proffered expert witness. After a second trial, the jury again returned a verdict in favor of Defendant. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) assuming, without deciding, that the district court erred in admitting an entry from Barbara’s diary and in admitting an excerpt from Barbara’s medical records from a different hospital, these errors were harmless; and (2) the district court did not commit prejudicial error in finding Plaintiffs to have waived their medical negligence claim. View "Bradley v. Sugarbaker" on Justia Law

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Appellants’ action brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), 2671-2680, seeking compensatory damages for the allegedly negligent act of a federal employee was time-barred under the FTCA’s statute of limitations. On April 22, 2013, Appellants filed a medical malpractice complaint pursuant to the FTCA against the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). The district court granted summary judgment for USDHHS, concluding that the complaint was time-barred for failing to file compulsory administrative claims within the FTCA’s two-year statute of limitations. On appeal, Appellants argued that their claim was timely under the “discovery rule.” The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, at least by March 8, 2010, Appellants knew of sufficient facts for their cause of action to accrue, and therefore, Appellants’ action was time-barred. View "Morales-Melecio v. United States" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this lawsuit alleging violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and claiming medical malpractice. Plaintiffs sued Hospital Pavia Hato Rey, APS Healthcare of Puerto Rico (APS), and two doctors. In granting summary judgment, the district court held that the action could not in “equity and good conscience” proceed without two necessary parties but that the parties could not be feasibly joined under Fed. R. Civ. P. 19. The judge found that complete diversity of citizenship of each plaintiff from each defendant was not met on the federal-EMTALA claim, and because no diversity jurisdiction existed, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the local-law claims. The First Circuit vacated the summary judgment for Hospital Pavia on the EMTALA claim and dismissed the local law claims, holding (1) the trial judge Fed. R. Civ. P. 19 analysis could not be sustained; and (2) this Court’s vacating part of the judge’s summary judgment ruling on the federal EMTALA claim undercut the analysis behind his supplemental jurisdiction decision. View "Delgado-Caraballo v. Hospital Pavia Hato Rey, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this lawsuit alleging violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and claiming medical malpractice. Plaintiffs sued Hospital Pavia Hato Rey, APS Healthcare of Puerto Rico (APS), and two doctors. In granting summary judgment, the district court held that the action could not in “equity and good conscience” proceed without two necessary parties but that the parties could not be feasibly joined under Fed. R. Civ. P. 19. The judge found that complete diversity of citizenship of each plaintiff from each defendant was not met on the federal-EMTALA claim, and because no diversity jurisdiction existed, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the local-law claims. The First Circuit vacated the summary judgment for Hospital Pavia on the EMTALA claim and dismissed the local law claims, holding (1) the trial judge Fed. R. Civ. P. 19 analysis could not be sustained; and (2) this Court’s vacating part of the judge’s summary judgment ruling on the federal EMTALA claim undercut the analysis behind his supplemental jurisdiction decision. View "Delgado-Caraballo v. Hospital Pavia Hato Rey, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed this diversity action against Fundacion Damas, Inc. and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico alleging (1) Fundacion was the owner and operator of Hospital Damas, (2) Fundacion committed medical malpractice under Articles 1892 and 1803 of the Puerto Rico Civil Code, and (3) Fundacion and Banco Popular committed negligence by mismanaging funds of a trust. The district court granted Banco Popular’s motion to dismiss count three and Fundacion’s motion for summary judgment on counts one and three. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to present the court with a developed argument that was convincing enough to disturb the judgment of the district court. View "Vargas-Colon v. Fundacion Damas, Inc." on Justia Law

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After Enrique Ojeda-Morales (Ojeda) died, his widow and his sister (collectively, Plaintiffs) filed a negligence action against two doctors, including Dr. Jorge Rodriguez-Wilson (Dr. Rodriguez), and related medical facilities. The medical facilities and one medical doctor (collectively, the settling parties) entered into settlement agreements with Plaintiffs. The district court dismissed the settling parties from the case, leaving Dr. Rodriguez as the sole defendant. After a trial, the jury concluded that Dr. Rodriguez’s negligent care was the proximate cause of Ojeda’s death and awarded Plaintiffs $475,000. The district court issued a judgment in favor of Plaintiffs. Dr. Rodriguez sought to alter the judgment, arguing that the jury’s damages award should be offset against the $700,000 that Plaintiffs received from the settling parties. The district court agreed and vacated the jury award. The First Circuit vacated the district court’s ruling, holding (1) the district court improperly vacated the jury award, as the district court misapplied Puerto Rico law when it implemented a dollar-for-dollar offset, and furthermore, Dr. Rodriguez waived any argument that he was entitled to offset; and (2) Dr. Rodriguez engaged in obstinate conduct trial trial, and therefore, the district court erred in refusing to grant Plaintiffs attorneys’ fees. View "Gomez v. Rodriguez-Wilson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint against Defendant, a medical doctor, alleging claims based on medical negligence, Defendant’s failure to obtain informed consent, and battery. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant as to the medical battery claim. After a trial as to Plaintiffs’ informed consent claim, the jury returned a verdict for Defendant. The First Circuit affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part, holding (1) the district court properly dismissed Plaintiffs’ battery claim; but (2) the district court erred by excluding expert testimony that a fine-needle aspiration biopsy was a viable non-surgical alternative to a surgical biopsy. View "Bradley v. Sugarbaker" on Justia Law

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The parents of a minor son filed a medical malpractice suit on their own behalf and on behalf of their son (Plaintiffs) against the Physician who delivered their son and the Hospital where the delivery took place. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants acted negligently in connection with their son’s birth, resulting in their son suffering from trauma, shoulder dystocia, and Erb’s Palsy. The jury concluded that both the Hospital and Physician were negligent but that only the Physician’s negligence proximately caused the child’s impairments. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the trial judge did not err by not allowing Plaintiffs’ attorney to ask a Hospital nurse leading questions; (2) the judge did not commit plain error by not including one of Plaintiffs’ proposed jury instructions; and (3) the jury did not render an inconsistent verdict. View "Rosa-Rivera v. Dorado Health, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice complaint in the Puerto Rico Court of the First Instance then voluntarily dismissed their suit and re-filed in federal court. In their federal complaint, Plaintiffs named as defendants Hospital Damas, Inc., various hospital employees, and several unnamed entities. Six weeks before the scheduled start of trial, Plaintiffs filed a motion to amend their complaint to include Fundacion Damas, Inc. as a defendant. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ motion because of Plaintiffs’ undue delay in moving to amend. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Plaintiffs failed to act with sufficient speed in seeking to add the new defendant. View "Perez v. Hosp. Damas, Inc." on Justia Law