Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Jonathan S. Aranow, Shoreline, and Middlesex, alleging that Aranow had left a surgical sponge in plaintiff’s abdominal cavity during gastric bypass surgery. She further alleged that Middlesex was both directly liable for its own negligence and vicariously liable for Aranow’s negligence, and Shoreline was vicariously liable for Aranow’s negligence. At issue is whether plaintiff’s medical malpractice action is barred by the statute of limitations or, instead, the statute of limitations was tolled under the continuing course of treatment doctrine. The court concluded that, to establish that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the continuing course of treatment doctrine tolled the statute of limitations, plaintiff was required only to present evidence that her abdominal discomfort was caused by the sponge and that she sought continuing treatment for her discomfort from Aranow. In this case, the court concluded that plaintiff has established that there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the doctrine applies. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court that plaintiff’s action was barred by the statute of limitations. View "Cefaratti v. Aranow" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought this medical malpractice action against Dennis Rodin and Waterbury Orthopaedic Associates, P.C., alleging that Rodin negligently failed to timely diagnose Plaintiff’s compartment syndrome, resulting in severe injuries to Plaintiff’s lower left leg. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendants, and the trial court rendered judgment in accordance with the jury verdict. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in restricting Plaintiff’s use of an article from a medical journal to impeach certain witnesses; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in precluding Plaintiff from questioning Defendants’ expert witness about his previous experience as an expert on behalf of Rodin; and (3) although the trial court should have allowed Plaintiff to make an offer of proof and mark a document for identification in connection with the proffered questioning of Defendants’ expert witness, the improprieties were not harmful to Plaintiff. View "Filippelli v. Saint Mary's Hosp." on Justia Law
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Plaintiff, individually and as the administrator of the estate of his son, Jonathan Radzik, sued Francisco Sylvester, a board certified specialist in pediatrics, and related healthcare entities (collectively, Defendants), alleging that Sylvester had negligently prescribed Remicade for Jonathan, which led to Jonathan’s death. At issue here was the trial court’s grant of Plaintiff’s motion to compel electronic discovery of the hard drives of certain computers used by Sylvester. Defendants filed an interlocutory appeal of the discovery order. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal for lack of a final judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the discovery order did not constitute a final judgment. View "Radzick v. Conn. Children's Med. Ctr." on Justia Law

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The named plaintiff in this case (Plaintiff) obtained a judgment in her favor against Defendants arising out of their medical malpractice. The Supreme Court concluded that the trial court had applied the wrong legal standard in concluding that Plaintiff was not entitled to postjudgment interest and remanded the case to the trial court for consideration of Plaintiff’s request for postjudgment interest under the correct legal standard. Thereafter, the trial court awarded Plaintiff postjudgment interest in the amount of $3,178,696. The Supreme Court reversed in part the order of the trial court, holding (1) the trial court, in awarding eight percent interest on the underlying judgment, did not err in considering the rate of return on certain investments Plaintiff claimed she would have earned if the judgment had been satisfied in a timely manner; but (2) the trial court improperly awarded such interest from October 28, 2010, the date on which the judgment was satisfied, rather than from November 5, 2013, the date on which the trial court awarded postjudgment interest. View "DiLieto v. County Obstetrics & Gynecology Group, P.C." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs brought this action against a hospital and a registered nurse, alleging that Defendants negligently discharged Plaintiffs’ suicidal son and that they suffered severe emotional distress when they discovered that their son had hung himself only thirty-five minutes after his discharge. The trial court granted summary judgment to Defendants with respect to Plaintiffs’ bystander emotional distress claim. The Supreme Court affirmed the summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress, holding that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether Plaintiffs suffered severe and debilitating emotional distress as a result of Defendants’ alleged negligence. View "Squeo v. Norwalk Hosp. Ass’n" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action alleging negligence on the part of employees or agents of Defendants, Connecticut Childbirth & Women’s Center and Women’s Health Associates, P.C., during the delivery of her child and at postpartum office visits. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-190a(c) on the ground that the physician opinion letter submitted by Plaintiff failed to satisfy the requirements of section 52-190a(1) because the letter was not authored by a similar health care provider, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-184c(c). Specifically, because Plaintiff brought this action principally on the basis of vicarious liability for the alleged negligence of certain certified midwives, Defendants argued that Plaintiff was required to submit an opinion letter authored by a certified nurse-midwife or registered nurse. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Plaintiff provided an opinion letter of a physician who is board certified in obstetrics, which is the same specialty practiced by the nurse-midwives, Plaintiff fulfilled the requirements of section 52-184c(c) and 52-190a. Remanded. View "Wilkins v. Conn. Childbirth & Women's Ctr." on Justia Law
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Susan and Rodney Drown filed a medical malpractice action against Associated Women’s Health Specialists, P.C. (Health Specialists) asserting vicarious liability claims arising from the acts or omissions of its physicians. During the relevant period, Health Specialists was insured through a professional liability policy issued by Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange (Exchange). Health Specialists settled for the full amount of the policy and assigned to the Drowns its rights to recover against Exchange. Health Specialists was subsequently declared insolvent, and the Connecticut Insurance Guaranty Association (Association) assumed liability for the Exchange’s obligations. The Association then commenced this declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that it had no obligations for the Drowns’ claims. Defendants, the Drowns and Health Specialists, counterclaimed. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Appellate Court reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Exchange’s preinsolvency breach of its duty to defend Health Specialists did not estop the Association from challenging its liability under the policy; and (2) the policy unambiguously did not cover Health Specialists for its vicarious liability in this case. View "Conn. Ins. Guar. Ass’n v. Drown" on Justia Law

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After a malpractice action was filed against a physician licensed by the Commissioner of Public Health (Department), the Department and the physician entered into a consent order, designated as a public document, indicating that the physician had agreed to a reprimand on his license and a civil penalty. A newspaper (Newspaper) subsequently made a request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Act (Act) for the records reviewed by a consultant in connection the Department’s investigation into the case, including an exhibit (exhibit A). After the Department failed to produce exhibit A, the Newspaper filed a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission (Commission). The Department argued before the Commission that exhibit A contained Practitioner Data Bank and Healthcare Data Bank records and that federal law provided a basis to withhold those records. The Commission concluded (1) federal regulations barred disclosure of records received from the Healthcare Data Bank, but (2) regulations did not bar disclosure of records received from the Practitioner Data Bank. The superior court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that none of the records were not subject to public disclosure under the Act.View "Comm’r of Pub. Health v. Freedom of Info. Comm’n" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff’s decedent received medical care and treatment from Defendants and, thereafter, died in August 2007. Plaintiff extended the two-year statute of limitations contained in Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-555 until November 2009, at which point Plaintiff sent a summons and complaint to a marshal and requested that Defendants be served. Due to an error on the part of the marshal, the trial court dismissed the claims against Defendants in April 2011 for improper service. In December 2011, Plaintiff commenced the present wrongful death action. The trial court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss on the basis of the two-year statute of limitations, concluding that Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-592, the accidental failure of suit statute, did not operate to save Plaintiff’s action. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court improperly determined that section 52-592 did not save the action. Remanded. View "Dorry v. Garden" on Justia Law

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The decedent in this case was stillborn. Plaintiffs, as coadministrators of the estate of the decedent, filed this action against Defendants, who provided prenatal care to the decedent’s mother, alleging that Defendants’ negligent failure to diagnose and treat the mother’s gestational diabetes caused the decedent’s stillbirth. At the close of Plaintiffs’ evidence the trial court granted Defendants' motion for a directed verdict, concluding that Plaintiffs had insufficient evidence to establish their claims. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in precluding two of their expert witnesses - physicians board certified in obstetrics and gynecology - from opining that the mother’s untreated gestational diabetes caused the decedent’s stillbirth. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court abused its discretion in precluding the expert testimony on the basis that the expert witnesses were not qualified to render an opinion on the cause of the decedent’s stillbirth. Remanded. View "Weaver v. McKnight" on Justia Law