How a Georgia Supreme Court ruling could affect a $3 million judgment in a Hall County medical malpractice case

Feb. 27 (Reuters) – A footnote in a Georgia Supreme Court ruling could affect a Hall County medical malpractice case where a jury previously returned a $3 million verdict against Northeast Georgia Medical Center, court documents say had spoken.

A Hall County Superior Court jury returned a $3 million verdict in favor of the family of Frances “Suzi” Mitchell, 42, of Jackson County on March 23, 2021. Mitchell’s two adult children have been named as plaintiffs against Northeast Georgia Health System, the medical center and Dr. Andrew Green listed.

The original lawsuit alleged that Green pierced Mitchell’s small intestine during surgery on May 3, 2016 to remove an ovarian mass. Mitchell died four days later.

“An autopsy revealed that a small perforation or hole in her intestines had caused an abdominal infection that resulted in her death,” read a summary from the Georgia Court of Appeals. “The coroner who performed the autopsy concluded that the perforation occurred during Green’s surgery.”

The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed the verdict in March 2022, ruling that Mitchell’s estranged husband was the proper party to file the wrongful death lawsuit.

The Georgia Supreme Court granted the review to hear a wrongful death penalty case in Thomas County, Hamon v. Connell, check. The wrongful death case was brought by the deceased’s daughter instead of his wife, who had been separated from the man for some time.

The Supreme Court reviewed the case to determine whether the trial court erred in allowing the man’s daughter to pursue the wrongful death case. The Georgia Court of Appeals previously overturned the trial court’s decision regarding Connell, which was used to decide Mitchell’s case.

Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act states that the child or children of a deceased person can make a claim if there is no surviving spouse.

“However … the courts of Georgia have, in certain circumstances, applied principles of equity to allow someone other than the surviving spouse of the deceased to bring a claim of wrongful death for the benefit of a deceased’s children,” the colonel’s justices wrote Court of Justice of Georgia in its unanimous opinion on February 2. 7.

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In a footnote before the last page of the opinion, the judges wrote that they “overturn” Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s ruling, which relied on the Georgia Court of Appeals’ previous ruling in the Connell case

Mitchell’s family attorney, Kenneth Lewis, filed a motion on February 16 to reinstate the March 2021 verdict, citing the Connell case.

Lewis also submitted an amicus brief for consideration by the Georgia Supreme Court in the Connell case, according to a footnote in the court’s decision.

Typically, a judgment such as the February 7 Opinion would apply to all subsequent cases.

However, Lewis argued in his motion that this falls under an exception if an “interpretation of the statute involves a statute differently interpreted by the Georgia Supreme Court.”

“In addition, neither side would be unreasonably hurt by the reinstatement of judgment,” Lewis wrote. “Reinstatement also saves the resources of the judiciary.”

Attorney M. Scott Bailey, representing the health system, wrote in an email to The Times that he was not authorized to comment, “other than that we disagree with the premise that the decision does the case ” cancels”.

NGHS spokesman Sean Couch said the hospital would not add anything beyond Bailey’s response to the Times via email.