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TMS Obtains Client Victory at KY Supreme Court

Jan 8th, 2019

TMS Obtains Client Victory at Kentucky Supreme Court


            TMS was recently victorious at the Kentucky Supreme Court in Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare, Inc. v. Barbara House, et al., obtaining a reinstatement of a defense verdict. The Court’s Opinion was unanimous.


            The case was procedurally unique. The plaintiff alleged that the hospital negligently delayed diagnosing sepsis and wrongfully discharged the patient from the emergency room. The patient was discharged with an elevated heartrate that was not communicated to the physician. The physician acknowledged, however, that the heartrate would not have altered his decision to discharge the patient. The patient later died of sepsis.


            The physician settled with the plaintiff before trial.


At trial, TMS attorney W. Kennedy Simpson obtained a directed verdict at the close of plaintiff’s case regarding the physician’s breach of the standard of care. The jury then found that the hospital did not act negligently, never reaching any instruction regarding the physician’s care.


The Court of Appeals reversed the defense verdict, holding that a directed verdict against an empty-chair defendant at the close of plaintiff’s case was erroneous.


The Supreme Court agreed that the directed verdict was erroneous, but held the error was harmless because the jury never reached the physician’s care. The Court reinstated the defense verdict.


The Opinion can be found here: http://opinions.kycourts.net/SC/2017-SC-000440-DG.pdf.


            W. Kennedy Simpson was the attorney at trial and handled the appeal. Joey Wright was also on the appeal.