Supreme Court takes away malpractice defendants' obligation to pay fees
The family of Paticia J. Young won a wrongful death medical malpractice case against Partha Shanker Nandi, M.D., Troy Gastroenterology and other Defendants, arising out of the 2005 death of their daughter. The verdict was eventually reduced to a judgment limited by the $280,000.00 "cap" plus interest and some attorney fees. The Defendants filed repetitive appeals, delaying the entry of final judgment until 2009. In 2011, the Court of Appeals overturned the trial judge's application of the 2009 "cap" on non-economic damages and this month, the Republican majority upheld that decision and also took away the award of attorneys' fees incurred by the family in the post-judgment appellate process. The Supreme Court said "There is not a sufficient causal nexus between the post-appeal proceedings and the defendants' rejection of the case evaluation."
Bottom line: if the Republicans on Michigan's Supreme Court "have your back" you can refuse settlements, bargain in bad faith, utilize every tool of delay and expense, and not incur the sanctions provided for under the Court Rules. Ultimately, even clear malpractice awards arising out of negligently-caused death can be reduced to an amount that is an insult to the value of a child. The three Democrats elected to the high court disagreed with this outcome.