Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chumbler v. McClure case brief

Chumbler v. McClure case brief summary
505 F.2d 489 (1974)

Appellant patient sought review of an order from the district court, which entered a directed verdict for appellee drug company at the conclusion of appellant's case and entered a directed verdict in favor of appellee deceased doctor's estate at the conclusion of all evidence, in appellant's medical malpractice action.


Appellant patient was injured in an electrical explosion, and was subsequently treated by appellee doctor. Appellee doctor diagnosed appellant with cerebral vascular insufficiency and prescribed a female hormone, produced by appellee drug company, and another drug. Appellant, a male, apparently suffered from the known side effects of the female hormone, and filed a diversity action alleging medical malpractice against appellee doctor and product liability against appellee drug company. At some point after the medical treatment but prior to the district court's trial, appellee doctor died, and appellant maintained his action against appellee doctor's estate. At trial, the district court entered directed verdicts for appellee drug company and appellee estate. Appellant sought review.


  • The court affirmed.
  • The court held that the trial court did not err in directing verdicts for appellees.
  • Appellant failed to prove any wrongdoing by appellee drug company.
  • Testimony of appellant's alleged lack of informed consent was properly excluded by the Tennessee Dead Man's Statute. 
  • Appellant failed to present a prima facie case of malpractice.

The court affirmed the directed verdict for appellee drug company because appellee failed to prove that appellee drug company had over-promoted its drug or failed to warn of the side effects. The directed verdict for appellee doctor's estate was also affirmed because appellant failed to present a prima facie case of malpractice and the Tennessee Dead Man's Statute was properly invoked to exclude testimony of alleged lack of informed consent.

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