Articles Posted in Personal Injury Case Law

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Mississippi allowed a victim of alleged medical malpractice to put up an expert witness to testify as to whether the victim may have avoided having a stroke had the defendant hospital provided him with the proper medical care. In the case of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport v. White, the plaintiff was a patient at Memorial Hospital who claimed that the Hospital’s negligence in failing to diagnose his pre-stroke symptoms contributed to his having a stroke in the days after he visited the hospital.

According to the court’s opinion, White first went to a different medical center complaining of slurred speech and tingling in his arms and legs. Staff at that hospital conducted a CT scan, which came back negative, and they sent White home with no treatment.

The next day, White continued to have slurred speech and was now experiencing numbness on the left side of his body. He went to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital, where he was diagnosed with hypertension, given medication, and sent home. He was advised to follow up with his primary care physician in a few days.

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The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision earlier this month, affirming a U.S. District Court decision that denied the plaintiffs’ attempt to collect on an underinsured motorist claim. The plaintiffs attempted to aggregate the policy limits for underinsured motorist coverage in a case filed against their own insurance company after an accident in which they suffered more damages than the settlement they accepted from the other driver’s insurance company would compensate them for.

The Court ruled that the insurance company is not required to allow clients to stack the policy limits of multiple covered vehicles to increase the coverage limit for damages caused to a single vehicle in a single accident. The Court further ruled that if the insurance company does allow the policy limits to aggregate based on the number of covered vehicles, they may correspondingly aggregate the setoff payment amounts received from the at-fault party’s insurance company against each vehicle’s policy limit, meaning that the plaintiffs will not recover more than the policy limit for a single vehicle.

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of West Virginia decided an interesting case that may influence the way Florida courts interpret a pressing legal issue in the State. In the case of Tug Valley Pharmacy, LLC v. All Plaintiffs Below, a group of 29 plaintiffs banded together to sue three pharmacists and one physician, alleging that the medication they received from the defendants led them to become addicted to and abuse controlled substances.

The Case at Trial

The group of plaintiffs claimed that the defendants provided them with prescriptions for certain medications, namely oxycodone, xanax, and Lortab, which furthered their addictions and ultimately led them into criminal behavior, including possession, distribution, fraud, misrepresentation, and doctor-shopping. Most of the plaintiffs admitted to using prescription drugs recreationally prior to receiving the prescription from the defendant doctors.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants were aware of and perpetuated the “pill mill” activities of medical providers, such as refilling prescriptions too early, filling prescriptions for large amounts of medication, providing contradicting medication to the same patient, and providing medications that are known to work together to provide a “better high.”

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Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court heard a case about an accident involving a government employee who was allegedly operating a government vehicle while intoxicated. The court determined that, since the plaintiff failed to name the driver of the car at the outset of the lawsuit, he was then precluded from later asking the court to name the driver as an additional defendant. This is of interest to the Florida community because the specific legal doctrines that the court applied also apply here in Florida.

In the case of Molina v. Alvarado, Alvarado was injured when Molina, a government employee, struck Alvarado while operating a city-owned vehicle while allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. Alvarado filed suit against the City, alleging that Molina was acting as a city employee when the accident occurred and that the city should be held liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior (a legal doctrine that allows accident victims to hold an employer liable for the negligent actions of an employee).

In turn, the City asked the court to dismiss the suit against it, based on the City’s sovereign immunity. The City claimed that nothing in Alvarado’s pleadings suggested that Molina was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident.

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