Court again rejects malpractice insurer's argument that bankruptcy precludes victim's negligence claim
For the second time in less than a month, the Court of Appeals has rejected a malpractice insurer's argument that declaring bankruptcy destroys a victim's right to pursue a malpractice claim. In this case Joseph Szyszlo awoke from orthopaedic surgery completely blind. He argued that the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist were guilty of malpractice that caused his blindness. Not surprisingly, the blind and badly injured man found himself declaring bankruptcy during the two year period when he was allowed to sue the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and Trinity Health-Michigan doctors (including Bloomfield Anesthesia).Szyszlo identified his malpractice claim on his bankruptcy claim and it was preserved by the Trustee. Nevertheless, the medical defendants argued that he now lacked standing to pursue his injury claim--and that if he could pursue it, his recovery should be limited to the predicted value assigned by the bankruptcy trustee. The Court noted that if Szyszlo won his claim, part of his damages would be used to satisfy his debts forgiven in bankruptcy, and that he was still free to pursue his claim for its entire value.