| UPDATE: House Passes Senate Bill 7, in which the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| The Supreme Court has issued another ruling limiting class-action claims, in favor of individual arbitration, this time finding that contractual ambiguity is no substitute for a clear expression of consent to class-wide arbitration.
| The Illinois First District Appellate Court recently affirmed a Cook County Circuit Court's dismissal of a medical negligence action as time-barred by both the statute of limitations and the statute of repose. In reaching its decision, the appellate court relied upon long-standing Illinois case law as to when a medical negligence action accrues in a wrongful death action.
| In Thomas E. Tharp, et al. v. St. Luke's Surgicenter – Lee's Summit, LLC, the Supreme Court of Missouri overturned a $2.3 million jury verdict in favor of a patient and his wife against a hospital, because there was no proof the hospital negligently credentialed a surgeon.
| In Senate Bill 7, the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| In State ex rel. Mylan Bertek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Vincent, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, held that, in a case alleging wrongful death, medical malpractice, and pharmaceutical liability, venue was proper only in the county where the decedent first ingested opioid pain medication, rather than the county where a defendant prescribed it.
| Court effectively negates statutory amendment intended to limit trial evidence to the actual cost of medical care.
| The Eighth Circuit affirms summary judgment in an employer's favor in a disability discrimination case, where the employee's excessive absenteeism was attributed to a disability and other family medical issues.
| Defense attorneys beware. The 2018-2019 American Tort Reform Foundation's (ATRF) Judicial Hellholes Report is out, and the City of St. Louis landed fourth on this list because of its massive verdicts, forum shopping, and legislative failures.
| The Missouri Supreme Court has firmly upheld the right of a party to present multiple expert witnesses during the trial of a medical malpractice case. Shallow v. Follwell, 554 S.W.3d 878 (Mo. banc 2018). The Supreme Court disagreed with the Court of Appeals' decision in the case, and instead...
| In Ferder v. Scott, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District (opinion authored by Judge Robert G. Dowd, Jr.). reversed a trial court's dismissal of a medical malpractice lawsuit for failure to comply with the affidavit of merit requirement in s. 538.225, RSMo.
| When will plaintiffs learn? In Hink v. Helfrich, the Missouri Supreme Court has recently added yet another to a long line of Missouri decisions upholding constitutional validity of the health care affidavit requirement for medical negligence actions, and strictly construing the mandatory statutory language.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals affirms the trial court's dismissal of a claim for defamation, based on the intra-corporate immunity rule, which protects certain internal communications made to corporate managers.
| In dismissing non-Missouri Plaintiffs from a product liability lawsuit, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri adds to split in authority between two of Plaintiffs' favorite forums in Missouri and California, testing the limits of Bristol-Myers Squibb.
| Where a coroner's report revealed that a decedent had ingested prescription opioid mediation, defendant may discover, for a reasonable time period, the decedent's prescription records.
| Despite an uptick in advocacy, support, and inclusion of the LGTBQ community over the past several decades, as of today, discrimination based on sexual orientation remains an invalid claim under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). However, in a recent decision by the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals...
| The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District upholds denial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration ruling that at-will employment is insufficient consideration to support an arbitration agreement and denying employer's request to find that, in accordance with federal policy, at-will employment should be sufficient consideration for an arbitration agreement.
| A Missouri trial court abused its discretion by permitting four expert witnesses to echo the defense's theory of alternative causation without requiring that each expert witness' opinions be limited to his area of expertise. Courts must adhere to the principles regarding legally relevant evidence, and preclude cumulative evidence in doing so.
| The U.S. Supreme Court rejects yet another creative state court end-run on arbitrability.
| The United States Supreme Court ruled on May 22, 2017, that the Hague Convention, on the service of judicial documents abroad, permits service by mail if the receiving country has not objected to service by mail and service by mail is authorized under otherwise-applicable law.
| The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that the attorney-client privilege protects a party from being required to disclose that her attorney referred her to treating doctors.
| Earlier this week, Governor Eric Greitens signed Missouri HB 153 into law. HB 153, which supplants Missouri's existing expert witness standard with that set forth in Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705, effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal case to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
| Within a two-week period, two federal judges issued strongly worded orders denouncing the common practice of asserting boilerplate objections to written discovery.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals rules that a worker may owe an independent duty of care to a co-worker, which is separate and distinct from her employer's non-delegable duties.
| A Missouri plaintiff did not irrevocably waive the protections of the work product doctrine simply by designating an expert witness and then withdrawing the designation without disclosing the expert’s analysis or conclusions.
| We recently noted new media reports raising patient privacy concerns due to health care providers' use of social media in the workplace. It appears the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") has also taken note of media reports on this topic. CMS has issued new guidance to state survey agency directors in an effort to safeguard patient privacy and prevent abuse related to photos or audio/visual recordings by nursing home staff.
| Lately, there have been numerous reports in the media raising patient privacy concerns due to healthcare providers' use of social media in the workplace. Employers, regulators and even law makers and law enforcement are taking very seriously these new types of privacy concerns spawned by emerging and evolving social media platforms, and they are becoming more aggressive in pursuing such cases
| On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Green v. Brennan in order to resolve a split among the Circuits on whether, in an action for constructive discharge, the 45-day limitation period for the employee to initiate contact with the EEOC begins to run after the employer's last discriminatory act, or at the time of the employee's resignation.
| In a revised opinion issued on May 24, 2016, the Missouri Supreme Court continues to uphold the constitutionality of the $350k non-economic damages cap, pursuant to Mo.Rev.Stat. §538.210, in wrongful death cases, and to focus on the distinction between statutory and common law claims; but expands its analysis of the equal protection challenge raised by plaintiff
| The Missouri Supreme Court, in a split decision, upholds the constitutionality of the $350k non-economic damages cap, pursuant to Mo.Rev.Stat. §538.210 in wrongful death case, recognizing the distinction between statutory and common law claims.
| The District Court for the Northern District of California recently granted certain members of UnitedHealth health plans class certification in their suit alleging improper denial of benefits. Plaintiffs in the putative class allege they were improperly denied coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment by United Behavioral Health ("UBH"), which administers mental health and substance use disorder benefits under their health insurance plans.
| The Supreme Court of Missouri, en banc, vacated a trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a physician and remanded the case, because the allegations in the petition stated a cause of action for medical negligence that would have been actionable under sec. 537.020, RSMo (Missouri's "survivorship" statute) if brought by the patient's personal representative.
| While a Kansas court may grant relief from a final judgment based on excusable neglect, it is an abuse of discretion to grant that relief when the party seeking that relief has failed either to explain what facts constituted excusable neglect or to provide any evidence to support that claim.
| In Lang v. Goldsworthy, a case decided by the Missouri Supreme Court on October 13, 2015, Plaintiffs, consisting of family members who filed a wrongful death action alleging negligent chiropractic services of a health care provider that allegedly caused the death of their relative, unsuccessfully attempted to challenge the constitutionality of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.225, generally known as the "health affidavit" statute.
| In October, the Department of Justice's special health care fraud prevention team announced settlements of more than $719 million. The settlements involved allegations of illegal kickbacks, unnecessary medical treatments and premature implantations of medical devices.
| In the case of Sharpe Holdings, Inc., et. al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, which enjoined the government from...
| The Supreme Court of Missouri, en banc, affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a wrongful death action premised on medical malpractice because the plaintiffs failed to file the health care affidavit required by § 538.225, RSMo.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, affirmed a trial court decision dismissing a plaintiff's medical negligence action, without prejudice, for failure to comply with §538.225, RSMo, the statute requiring a medical malpractice plaintiff to file an affidavit stating plaintiff has obtained a written opinion from a qualified health care provider in support of the claim's merit.
| Manufacturers of Generic Pharmaceuticals bask in uncertainty after the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in Pliva, Inc. v. Huck, leaving all to wonder whether or not state law "failure to update labeling" are preempted.
| On March 27, 2015, we informed our readers of the possibility that caps in medical malpractice damages might return to Missouri. As of May 7, 2015, caps are back in play. Recently, the House of Representatives passed the Senate damage cap bill by 125 to 27 vote, and sent it to Governor Jay Nixon for signature.
| Missouri, en banc, affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a plaintiff's foreign-object medical malpractice claim against a health care provider for leaving foreign objects in the patient's abdomen during surgery almost 14 years earlier.
| On March 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari at the request of the University of Notre Dame on another matter arising from the Affordable Care Act, and remanded the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, with instructions to reconsider its ruling in light of the Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
| The Eighth Circuit recently analyzed the application of the “outside sales” and “administrative” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the context of promotional workers. Also, the Court was asked to decide, for the first time, what constitutes a valid waiver of an employee’s rights under the FLSA.
| In 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in the case of Watts v. Cox Medical Center that the previously enacted tort reform statutory cap on medical malpractice damages was unconstitutional as it violated a plaintiff's right to trial by jury. From time to time, bills have been brought before the State bodies in an attempt to try and reinstate caps; however, no effort has been successful or serious until now.
| Kansas has joined a short, but growing, list of states introducing legislation purporting to give terminally ill patients the option to try drug treatments not yet approved by the FDA, but which have passed Phase One FDA testing. However, the legislation does not incentivize any manufacturer to provide such drugs and in fact potentially exposes a manufacturer who does provide access to additional risk of lawsuits.
| A defendant removing a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act need not provide evidence proving the jurisdictional amount in controversy in the notice of removal. A "short and plain statement of the grounds for removal" is sufficient.
| The Missouri Supreme Court recently sustained the trial court'sdenial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration in the case of Carla Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc. d/b/a Bristol Manor, et al., No. SC93451.
| In Franzman v. Wyeth, Inc., et al., the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District recently reversed the trial court's judgment in favor of the manufacturers of the generic form of Reglan (the "Generic Defendants") on the portion of Franzman's failure-to-warn claim relating to the Generic Defendants' failure to update their warning labels to reflect the 2004 brand-name label revision.
| On August 15th, the Alabama Supreme Court endorsed the theory of "innovator liability" and held for the second time in Wyeth, Inc. v. Weeks, 2014 Ala. LEXIS 109 (Ala. Aug. 15, 2014) that a plaintiff who took only the generic version of a medication could still make a claim against the brand-name manufacturers. While this position remains the minority view, the Weeks case demonstrates that the innovator-liability theory remains an important and contested issue for brand and generic drug manufacturers.
| Individuals and businesses relying upon contractors to provide labor services may be exposing themselves to liability if these contractors fail to pay their employees in accordance with the Missouri Minimum Wage Law.
| K.S.A. 60-19a02 has been amended, increasing Kansas's long-standing cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering) recoverable in personal injury. K.S.A. 60-456(b) has also been amended to mirror the requirements for the admissibility of expert testimony set forth in Fed. R. Evid. 702.
| The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Hobby Lobby decision on June 30 and it is already having a ripple effect. On July 3rd, the Court issued an injunction on a case pending in the lower Federal Courts simplifying the paperwork needed to claim a religious exemption under the Hobby Lobby decision. The female members of the Court issued a dissent to the order.
| After sitting on the sidelines for years the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has released a comprehensive medical review that deals a fatal blow to claims that permanent injuries are definitive evidence of error by the delivering physician.
| Closely-held or family owned companies whose owners have strong religious beliefs may be able to exclude certain contraception-related benefits from their employee health benefit programs. The federal government has available "less restrictive" means of assuring that employees get access to such care at no additional cost, than an outright mandate that all employers provide those benefits.
| Experts are not required to rule out all possible causes when performing the differential etiology analysis if the experts have properly ruled in the alleged cause.
| Medical malpractice plaintiffs must comply with the Health Care Affidavit statute (Mo.Rev.Stat. 538.225), or face dismissal.
| A Kansas plaintiff may amend their pleadings to assert punitive damages up until the day of the pretrial conference.
| A man who sued his former employer, alleging he was discharged in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim, appealed on the basis that the trial court used a jury instruction with the wrong standard. In a 5-2 decision written by Judge George W. Draper III, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the 'exclusive causation' standard and replaced it with the "contributing factor" standard. On remand and in future cases, the jury must determine whether the plaintiff's filing of a workers' compensation claim was a "contributing factor" to his or her discharge.
| Based on its adoption of a statutory scheme of comparative negligence, Kansas has abolished common law assumption of the risk as a bar to recovery. Simmons v. Porter, 298 Kan. 299, 312 P3d 345, 355 (Kan. 2013).
| The plaintiff has the burden of proving standing, which is a jurisdictional issue that can be raised at any time.
| In Kansas, the parties bind themselves to an enforceable settlement, even though the parties contemplate subsequent execution of a formal instrument. However, when the parties specifically condition a contract on it being reduced to writing and signed, there is no enforceable contract until such act is accomplished.
| The Missouri Supreme Court has held that putative class action plaintiffs claiming injury due to allegedly fraudulent overbilling for medical care cannot recover because they were unable to show they actually suffered any damages in that they neither incurred nor paid the charges at issue.
| In October of 2012, the Kansas Supreme Court resolved four constitutional questions and upheld the noneconomic damages cap of $250,000 in personal injury actions contained in K.S.A. 60-19a02. In Miller v. Johnson, 289 P.3d 1098 (Kan. 2012), a patient brought a medical malpractice action against a physician who mistakenly removed patient's left ovary during a surgery intended to take the right ovary. . .
| Supreme Court of Missouri issued an opinion in Deborah Watts as Next Friend for Naython Kayne Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers d/b/a/ Family Care Center, Lester E. Cox Medical Centers, Melissa R. Hermann, M.D., Matthew P. Green, D.O., and William S. Kelly, M.D. holding that RSMo 538.210, which caps non-economic damages, is unconstitutional, as it violates the right to trial by jury. . .
| The Missouri Supreme Court in a 4 to 3 decision held that section 538.210 RSMo 2000 is unconstitutional to the extent that it infringes on the jury's constitutionally protected purpose of determining the amount of damages sustained by an injured party. The Court further held...