Another malpractice case dismissed on procedural grounds
The family of Riley Shane Rhoades sued Trinity Health Michigan, Dr. Stephen Hickner and several other entities, arguing that Riley died due to complications sustained during a negligently managed delivery. The Defendants peppered the family with discovery requests and the family's attorneys were slow to respond with deposition dates for the parents and for the 7 experts they had listed. They also failed to produce a videotape recorded during the delivery.
At an August hearing the Court warned that it would dismiss the lawsuit entirely if the Plaintiffs did not produce all of the outstanding discovery, including all seven experts, within five weeks. The Plaintiffs appeared at the next hearing to explain that no one could locate the missing videotape, indicated their plan to withdraw three of their experts, and to seek the court's indulgence in producing one of the four retained experts after the deadline. Instead, the Court dismissed their claim entirely. It ruled that their history of delayed responses to discovery justified dismissal of the lawsuit and that the "interests of justice" did not warrant any further delay. The Court of Appeals sustained this result.