Michigan Supreme Court Grant Oral Argument to Consider Causation and Speculative Injury Claim in Medical Malpractice Action

The Supreme Court has granted oral argument on an application in a medical malpractice case to consider the Court of Appeals’ majority ruling that speculative injuries can be the basis for damages in a medical malpractice case.  The Court specifically requests the litigants to brief and address whether the Court of Appeals’ majority ruling is contrary to the rule enunciated by the Court in Henry v. Dow Chemical, 473 Mich 63 (2005), which held that residents could not recover for damages associated with environmental contamination, where future injuries from such contamination were, at best, speculative.

The Court also requests the parties to consider whether the Court of Appeals’ majority properly applied Sutter v. Biggs, 377 Mich. 80 (1966), which addressed the foreseeability of damages in a medical malpractice action.  In the latter case, the Court held that a doctor’s mistaken and negligent removal of one of the plaintiff’s fallopian tubes when she was 10 during an appendectomy could not serve as the basis for a claim where the plaintiff’s other fallopian tube was intentionally removed in a surgery when she was 19.  The plaintiff’s cause of action against the first doctor was based on the theory that had he not negligently performed the appendectomy, at least one of her fallopian tubes would have been present after the second sugery was performed years later.  The Court of Appeals’ majority here dismisses the view that in cases where there are dual functioning organs, a doctor’s removal of one does not give rise to a cause of action because of the potential for greater future harm due to the additional risk associated with having only one functional organ.

The Court of Appeals majority and dissent agreed that insufficient expert testimony was provided to establish the standard of care against the defendant hospital concerning the standard applicable to delivery of radiology results.

The Supreme Court appears to be only concerned here with the issues concerning speculative damages and causation.

The Court has invited amicus briefing from the Michigan Association of Justice and Michigan Defense Trial Counsel.

Here is the Supreme Court’s Order:  Supreme Court Order OA on App in Huddleston

Read the COA’s Opinion here: Huddleston

About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
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