July 1, 2008 Recent Legal News






Peer Review


Brown v Broward County Hosp
Broward, Fla Superior Ct

The family of newborn Darian Brown got $35 million for the permanent injury to their son.  The mother had some pre term labor issues for which she was hospitalized and stabilized.  The next day the baby became critical but the nurses didn't call the physician for several hours and the cut time wasn't until even more hours, a total from first seeing distress until delivery of 4 1/2 hours.   The baby can not sit or eat by itself and needs 24 hour care.  

Thomas el rel v Oldfield
Tenn Ct App

The trial court gave a summary judgment ruling to a hospital in a vicarious liability suit of med mal by a ED physician.  The patient signed a form stating the physician was an independent contractor but the information was part of a lengthy consent form and was not pointed out to the patient.  The patient was also in pain when she signed the form.  Therefore there was a question of a meaningful notice of the physician's status.  The appellate did agree with the lower court that there was not direct agency involved.  

Patients v Duke Univ.

In 2004, patients complained and sued due to problems after surgical instruments had been rinsed in hydraulic fluid and then placed into the patients. Some of the patients settled and others still have suits pending.  In total over 3600 patients were exposed to the fluid. 

Mississippi v White
Superior Ct.

Dr. Paul White was facing charges of negligent care of patients when he added cyber stalking.  He apparently emailed threats to people who posted complaints about the facility he was the medical director of on a web site.      Top


Quon v Ontario
9th Circ

The 9th Circuit has limited the ability of employers to obtain emails and text messages sent by employees on company financed accounts.  The text message part does not pertain to those companies that maintain their own internal server but it does to those who use outside providers for messaging.  This ruling is for both public and private companies.  The ruling cites the 4th Amendment for illegal search and seizure.          Top


Chamber of Commerce v Brown
US Supreme Ct

The Court ruled that the NLRA preempts a California law prohibiting employers using any state funds to talk to employees regarding unionizing.  The 7-2 decision with the two leftist justices siding with their union masters decided against the unions and allows hospitals to debate the merits of unionization with the unions.   

Wichita Clinic v Louis
Kan Ct App

In Kansas reasonable restrictive covenants are still legal.  Here the clinic had breached the employment agreement and still sued for specific performance.  The terms were reasonable, one year and the county.  The court continued saying that a liquidated damages provision was also legal requiring payment of 25% of all earnings collected in the next three years.  Kansas has been a legal backwater state and continues to be.   

Med Consultants v Iroquois Mem Hosp
CD Ill

 The hospital won a summary judgment in a law suit by a radiologist who sued for loss in an exclusive contract dispute.  When will physician's learn that they will lose the suits in exclusive contract disputes?  A waste of money for all.     Top


US v Mendez

The feds have indicted Susana Mendez and Jose Riopedre, of Miami and Derrick Truby of Catonsville for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled drugs. This seeks a forfeiture of $7.8 million from the former two in numerous bank accounts.          Top


Metropolitan Life v Glenn
US Supreme Ct.

The Supreme Court has ruled that there are inherent conflicts when a company both provides the benefits and makes the decisions on the appeals.  The judge must take the facts of each case into account when making a decision on a judicial review of an insurer's decision.  This decision leaves the law up in the air and makes outcomes unpredictable. 

DC v CareFirst

Washington DC has filed suit against CareFirst for hoarding its annual surpluses and turning them into executive salaries.  The District wants $100 million back into the community.  CareFirst states it has given money to the community.   CareFirst is also in hot water in Maryland for a "generous" severance package to its CEO.    

Veterans v VA
DC Cal

 The trial by a veteran group to sue to improve post traumatic stress syndrome is over.  The judge said he has no power over the federal VA system.  It was an exercise in futility except for the publicity.   Top

Peer Review

Tyson v Oregon Anesthesiology Grp.
D. Or

The anesthesiologist had been placed on a leave of absence due to substance abuse.  He sought reinstatement but was required to fulfill certain obligations that he felt were unfair and sued.  He lost due to the credentialing policy of the hospital which he signed.  It stated the physician would not sue the hospital or any physician over credentialing issues.  The physician had to pay the legal costs of the hospital as this was also in the policy.  This would not happen in California as that type of policy even as its in most hospital staff policies and/or bylaws is illegal as against public policy.        Top


DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.