High court reverses summary disposition granted to medical malpractice defendants
Barbara Zwiers sued Dr. Sean Growney and Michigan Pain Consultants in Grand Rapids, alleging professional malpractice. Zwiers argued that she suffered injury as a result of the negligent placement of an intrathecal morpine pain pump in 2005. Unfortunately, her lawyers miscalculated and filed her lawsuit one day before the 180-day waiting period expired after she gave notice of her intent to sue. This inadvertent error caused the trial judge to dismiss her case "with prejudice" for failing to comply with the medical malpractice "reform" legislation that required the 180-day waiting period. The Court of Appeals ruled that the defendants could demonstrate no possible prejudice from the one-day error in filing and reinstated Zwier's case.
On remand to the lower court, the Defendants again sought summary disposition, citing a recent Michigan Supreme Court decision by the Republican majority of the seven justices, that the Defendants believe rejected the Court of Appeals' analysis. The trial judge granted summary disposition a second time and Zwiers appealed. On the second appeal, the Court of Appeals again reversed the trial judge. The Judges ruled that the Michigan Supreme Court decision in the Driver v. Naini case was not factually similar enough to the instant case to overturn their prior reasoning. Judge Michael Riordan would have upheld the dismissal if he were not bound by a conflict resolution panel of the Court of Appeals.