Search This Blog

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Medical Malpractice: Quotient Verdict Results in Reversal on Appeal; Case Remanded for Re-Trial

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in Cullum v. Baptist Hosp. Sys., Inc., No. M2009-01980-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 16, 2011). Here's the summary from the opinion, to wit:

This is an appeal from a jury verdict in a medical malpractice case. Plaintiffs, parents of child who suffered severe, permanent brain injuries during the course of his labor and delivery, filed suit against their physician, physician’s employer, and related hospitals. The physician and her employer settled prior to trial, leaving the related hospitals as the only defendants. This case has been tried twice. Following the first trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of defendants, which the trial court set aside pursuant to the thirteenth juror rule. The second trial resulted in a verdict for plaintiffs, with the jury assigning 3.75 percent of fault to the defendants and 96.25 percent of fault to the nonparty physician. Because the evidence shows that the members of the jury agreed to be bound by the result of a predetermined averaging process, we have concluded that the jury reached a quotient verdict, which is impermissible. Consequently, we reverse and remand the case for a new trial.

Here's a link to the opinion:

The case also discusses the effect of a settlement between one defendant and the plaintiff and how that is to be handled at trial with any remaining nonsettling defendants. Specifically, it discusses how this sort of evidence is very limited by Tenn. R. Evid. 408 and how it should not be improperly brought before the jury's attention by the nonsettling defendants during the re-trial of this case.

No comments: