Justia Florida Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Health Law
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Petitioner filed suit against respondent, alleging negligence, violation of resident's rights, and breach of fiduciary duty. Respondent moved to compel arbitration. Petitioner raised several issues on appeal. The court held that its decision was controlled in part by Shotts v. OP Winter Haven, Inc., another nursing home arbitration case. Pursuant to the court's reasoning in that case, the court held that the district court erred in the following respects: (i) in ruling that the limitation of liability provisions in this case, which placed a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages and waived punitive damages, were severable; (ii) in failing to rule that the court, not the arbitrator, must decide whether the arbitration agreement violated public policy; and (iii) in failing to rule that the above limitation of liability provisions violated public policy. The court also held that the United States Supreme Court decision in Rent-A-Center, West. Inc. v. Jackson was inapplicable. View "Gessa, etc. v. Manor Care of Florida, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, as personal representative of her uncle's estate, filed a complaint against respondent alleging negligence and breach of fiduciary duties. Respondent moved to compel arbitration based on an agreement petitioner had signed on her uncle's admission. The court held that the district court erred in failing to rule that the court, not the arbitrator, must decide whether the arbitration agreement violated public policy. The court also held that the district court erred in failing to rule that the limitations of remedies provisions in this case violated public policy, for they undermined specific statutory remedies created by the Legislature. The court further held that the district court erred in ruling that the limitations of remedies provisions that called for imposition of the American Health Lawyer Association rules was severable. The court finally concluded that the United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. v. Jackson was inapplicable. View "Shotts, etc. v. OP Winter Haven, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff suffered a stroke with devastating consequences, leaving him with permanent paralysis and aphasia. Following a jury trial on his claim of medical malpractice, plaintiff received a jury verdict that awarded substantial damages to him and his wife. At issue was whether the Second District permissibly reweighed the testimony presented by plaintiff's expert witness as to whether the conduct of the hospital and emergency room doctor caused him to suffer devastating damages as a result of the stroke. The court held that it was within the jury's province to evaluate the expert's credibility and weigh her testimony and that the Second District misapplied the court's precedent by reweighing the evidence and rejecting the expert's explanation. Accordingly, the court quashed the Second District's judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cox, et al. v. St. Joseph's Hospital, et al." on Justia Law

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Respondent filed a complaint against petitioner, alleging the negligence of certain residents, fellows, and nurses at Jackson Memorial Hospital where her newborn son contracted a severe bacterial infection and subsequently died. At issue was whether, under section 768.28(7), Florida Statutes, the timing of respondent's service of process on the Florida Department of Financial Services ("DFS") was fatal to her negligence action. The court expressly rejected the argument that service of process on DFS was a condition precedent to respondent's cause of action and that proving service of process was an element of her burden of proof. Therefore, the court held that DFS was not a party to the cause of action and petitioner failed to demonstrate prejudice. The court concluded that the timing of respondent's service was not fatal to her negligence claim against petitioner and affirmed the trial court's denial of petitioner's motion for directed verdict. View "The Public Health Trust Of Miami-Dade County, Etc. v. Acanda" on Justia Law