Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Larson v. Wasemiller case brief

Larson v. Wasemiller case brief summary
738 N.W.2d 300 (2007)

Appellant husband and wife sued respondent doctors, clinic, and medical center, alleging negligence in connection the performance of the wife's gastric bypass surgery. In answering certified questions, the Court of Appeals of Minnesota reversed the denial of the medical center's motion to dismiss a negligent credentialing claim, holding that Minnesota common law did not recognize a negligent credentialing claim. The husband and wife appealed.


  • The tort of negligent credentialing was inherent in and the natural extension of well-established common law rights given the appellate court's previous recognition of a hospital's duty of care to protect its patients from harm by third persons and of the analogous tort of negligent hiring, and given the general acceptance in the common law of the tort of negligent selection of an independent contractor. 
  • The tort was recognized as a common law tort by a majority of other common law states, relying on various rationales, such as direct or corporate negligence. 
  • Although Minn. Stat. § 145.64, subd. 1 (2006) may have made the proof of a common law negligent credentialing claim more complicated, it did not preclude such a claim. Minn. Stat. § 145.63, subd. 1 (2006) did not materially alter the standard of care and although it presented some obstacles in proving and defending a negligent credentialing claim, it also did not preclude such a claim. 
  • Policy considerations in favor of the tort outweighed any tension caused by the peer review statute's policy considerations as the latter considerations were adequately addressed by the preclusion of access to confidential peer review materials.

The lower court's answer to the first certified question was reversed. A claim of negligent credentialing did exist in Minnesota. The case was remanded to district court for further proceedings.

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