Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Corbett v. Weisband case brief

CORBETT v WEISBAND

FACTS
-July 1978- Operation by Dr. DeMoura on P’s left knee with treatment following through Oct. 1978.
-Dec. 1978- P came under care of D. who treated her through August 1981.
-Oct. 1980- left knee fusion performed by D.
-Sep. 1981- Dr. Greene began treating her, “knee fusion not successful”
-Dec. 1981- P hospitalized, total knee replacement by Dr. Greene.
-Jan 1982- P hospitalized again for the month because knee joint had opened. In March readmitted because wound had not healed.
-Nov.-Pl. broke leg while climbing out of bed. Remained in hospital for 9 months.
-April 1983- Knee implant removed b/c became infected.
-July 1983- Amputated, Dr. Green “infection would never clear.”
-This trial: Dr. Weisband negligent in performing the fusion.
 
RULES
A superseding cause is an act of a third person or other force which by its intervention prevents the actor from being liable for harm to another which his antecedent negligence is a substantial factor in bringing about.
-The problem is one of whether the Def. is to be held liable for an injury to which the Def. has in fact made a substantial contribution, when it is brought about by a later cause of independent origin, for which the Def. is not responsible.
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[The fact that an intervening act of a third person is negligent in itself or is done in a negligent manner does not make it a superseding cause of harm to another which the actor’s negligent conduct is a substantial factor in bringing about if:
a) the actor at the time of his negligent conduct should have realized that a third person might so act, or
b) a reasonable man knowing the situation existing when the act of the third person was done would not regard it as highly extraordinary that the third person had acted, or
c) the intervening act is a normal consequence of a situation created by the actor’s negligent conduct and the manner in which it is done is not extraordinarily negligent.]
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-The question if the intervening act is highly extraordinary as to constitute a superseding cause = jury question.
-”Where reasonable minds could differ, resolution of such questions is properly left to the jury.”

APPLICATION
-Knee replacement = “insanity”, could be characterized as gross negligence.
“Whether he was negligent is not the issue, the issue is whether his negligence was “highly extraordinary.” About that question, reasonable minds could differ.

CONCLUSION
-Whether or not such conduct was so extreme as to constitute a superseding cause was a question that should properly have been left to the jury.

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