Articles Posted in Health Law

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A jury found Cecil Emerson was a sexually violent predator, and the district court ordered him committed. In 2001, Emerson filed a notice of appeal. The Court of Appeals ultimately dismissed the appeal in 2002 after Emerson’s counsel failed to file a brief. In 2014, Emerson moved the district court to permit an out-of-time appeal of the underlying ruling that he was a sexually violent predator. The district court ruled that it would give Emerson the right to appeal based upon his previous counsel’s lack of action after the notice of appeal was filed and the appeal was dismissed. In 2015, Emerson filed a notice of appeal. The Court of Appeals concluded that Emerson was entitled to an out-of-time appeal based on principles of fundamental fairness and then rejected Emerson’s arguments. Emerson petitioned for review. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the district court lost jurisdiction to authorize the filing of the out-of-time direct appeal when the initial appeal was docketed in the Court of Appeals, and therefore, the district court could not set aside the order of the Court of Appeals and reinstate the appeal. View "In re Care & Treatment of Emerson" on Justia Law

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The State sought to have Todd Ellison, a convicted sex offender, involuntarily committed under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act. Under the Act, Ellison was entitled to a jury trial during which the State must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Ellison, however, waited in jail for more than four years without a trial. The district court concluded that the delay violated Ellison’s due process rights, dismissed the action, and ordered Ellison released. A court of appeals panel reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings to more fully address the due process issue. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and affirmed the order of release, holding (1) the district court did not err when it applied Barker v. Wingo to Ellison’s due process claim; and (2) the court of appeals panel erred when it concluded that the district court failed to render adequate factual findings and incorrectly based its release order solely on the length of delay. View "In re Care & Treatment of Ellison" on Justia Law

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Paul Sykes was convicted of burglary and aggravated sexual battery. Prior to the expiration of his sentence, the State filed a petition seeking to have Sykes adjudicated a sexually violent predator. Although Sykes was found incompetent to assist in his own defense, the district court ultimately ruled Sykes was a sexually violent predator and ordered him committed. The court of appeals affirmed. Sykes appealed, arguing that due process requires that a respondent be mentally competent to assist in his or her own defense in order to be civilly adjudicated a sexually violent predator. The Supreme Court affirmed the adjudication, holding that a respondent need not be competent to be adjudicated a sexually violent predator under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act, and therefore, Sykes did not suffer a violation of his due process rights. View "In re Care & Treatment of Sykes" on Justia Law

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In 1996, Kodi Thomas was convicted of attempted rape and aggravated burglary. A civil jury later declared Thomas to be a sexually violent predator under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act subject to civil commitment. The court of appeals affirmed. Thomas appealed, arguing that the district court erred by permitting the State’s experts to testify about hearsay statements contained within his treatment records and by erroneously instructing the jury on the State’s burden of proof. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Thomas failed to preserve the hearsay issue for appeal; and (2) the instructional error was harmless. View "In re Care & Treatment of Thomas" on Justia Law

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Petitioners were residents of a state hospital and involuntary participants in the Kansas Sexual Predator Treatment program at the hospital. Petitioners filed petitions for habeas corpus relief challenging the Program’s implementation of a new administrative grievance procedure. The district court summarily denied the petitions and assessed the costs of filing the action against each petitioner. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the petitions but reversed the assignment of costs to Petitioners. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, whenever a person civilly committed files a habeas petition relating to his or her commitment, the costs shall be assessed to the counties in which the petitioners were determined to be sexually violent predators. View "Merryfield v. Sullivan" on Justia Law

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Ector Manuel Savala-Quintero sustained injuries when he jumped through the fourth-story window of room in the Wabaunsee County jail where he had been placed by sheriff officials during an investigation. The University of Kansas Hospital Authority sued the Board of Wabaunsee County Commissioners for reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred in its treatment of Savala-Quintero. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the County. The Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, holding that the County was not obligated to pay the medical expenses of Savala-Quintero because, although Savala-Quintero was temporarily detained at the county jail, he was not a prisoner committed to or held in the jail at the time he was injured. View "Univ. of Kan. Hosp. Auth. v. Bd. of Comm’rs " on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Doctor and Doctor’s employer (Employer), alleging that Doctor touched her inappropriately and made sexually charged comments during her office visits. Plaintiff settled with Doctor, and the case proceeded against Employer. The district court held that Plaintiff’s claims against Employer were barred by Kan. Stat. Ann. 40-3403(h), which past decisions of the Supreme Court interpreted to cover a covered health care provider’s vicarious liability and any other responsibility, including independent or direct liability, for claims caused by the professional services of another health care provider. The court of appeals affirmed. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the lower courts erred in relying on the cases interpreting the statute because the cases were wrongly decided, were distinguishable, or had been effectively overruled. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 40-3403(h) barred Employer’s liability, and the district court did not err in granting summary judgment. View "Cady v. Schroll" on Justia Law

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Via Christi Regional Medical Center, Inc. filed a hospital lien to collect on its bill for medical services provided to Ivan Reed after Reed's car collided with a Union Pacific Railroad train. The lien purported to encumber a portion of Reed's settlement with Union Pacific. Via Christi subsequently brought this action against Reed to enforce its lien. Reed counterclaimed, asserting that Via Christi, in an effort to enforce the lien, had engaged in deceptive and unconscionable practices in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. The district court judge entered judgment in favor of Via Christ on the lien and against Reed on his counterclaims. The court of appeals affirmed the enforceability of Via Christi's lien. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Via Christi's failure to strictly comply with the requirements of Kan. Stat. Ann. 65-407 rendered its lien ineffective and unenforceable against Reed; (2) a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether Via Christi knew or should have known that it misrepresented the amount it was owed for services rendered; and (3) the lower courts erred in ruling as a matter of law that a hospital's filing and pursuit of a lien could never be unconscionable. Remanded. View "Via Christi Reg'l Med. Ctr., Inc. v. Reed" on Justia Law

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On the second anniversary of her husband Curley's death, Plaintiff, individually and as the representative of the estate of Curley, filed a lawsuit against defendants Doctor and Hospital, in which she raised wrongful death and survival claims based on alleged medical malpractice. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, finding that Plaintiff's claims were barred by a two-year limitation period. In so concluding, the court found that the causes of action accrued on the last date on which Defendants' negligence could have occurred and the date on which Curley's injuries were first ascertainable. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the basis for Plaintiff's lawsuit did not accrue until Curley's death. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the court of appeals' judgment as to the wrongful death action, holding that a claim for wrongful death accrues on the date of death unless information regarding the fact of death or the wrongful act that causes the death was concealed or misrepresented; and (2) reversed the court of appeals' holding regarding the statute of limitations applicable to the survival action, holding that the survival action in this case was barred by the statute of limitations. View "Martin v. Naik" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued Doctor for medical malpractice arising out of surgeries to treat her tracheal stenosis. Doctor filed a motion in limine to prevent Plaintiff's subsequent treating physician from testifying about the standard of care. The district court granted the motion because Plaintiff's treating physician did not meet the requirements of Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-3412. Under the statute, Plaintiff's treating physician must have spent at least fifty percent of his professional time within the two years before Plaintiff's first surgery in actual clinical practice if Plaintiff wished him to testify as an expert on the applicable standard of care. The court subsequently granted summary judgment for Doctor because, in the absence of expert testimony on the standard of care, Plaintiff could not carry her burden of proof. the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the fifty percent rule for expert witnesses under section 60-3412 is inapplicable to treating physicians; and (2) therefore, the district court erred in granting summary judgment for Doctor. View "Schlaikjer v. Kaplan" on Justia Law