Monday, November 11, 2013

Herskovits v. Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound case brief

Herskovits v. Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound case brief summary
664 P.2d 474 (1983)

Appeal from decision of the Superior Court for King County (Washington) granting summary judgment in negligence action to defendant health cooperative based on plaintiff's failure to show that decedent had at least a 51 percent chance of survival absent defendant's negligence.


Plaintiff's decedent received medical treatment through defendant for respiratory symptoms. More than a year later, another doctor diagnosed lung cancer, and plaintiff's decedent died 20 months later. Plaintiff submitted medical evidence that late diagnosis may have reduced the decedent's chance of survival from 39 percent to 25 percent.

The court reversed summary judgment for defendant and reinstated plaintiff's cause of action, holding that plaintiff did not need to show that decedent's probability of survival was 51 percent, and plaintiff's evidence of a reduced chance of survival was sufficient for jury determination of proximate cause.


The court reversed summary judgment and reinstated plaintiff's negligence action because evidence regarding plaintiff's decedent's reduced chance of survival following defendant's failure to timely diagnose cancer was sufficient to submit proximate cause issue to jury.

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