Boerste v University of Louisville Hospital and Dr. Morris (KY Court of Appeals) – No. 2020-CA-0646-MR The University of Louisville Hospital and Dr. Marvin Morris appealed a Jefferson Circuit Court jury verdict in the amount of $10.5 million consisting of $9.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. Carolyn had a surgical sponge left in her for 5 years and ended up losing her left leg to amputation due to pressure ulcers that developed on her heels from being bed-ridden after the sponge was finally discovered and removed (see Verdicts and Settlements). The verdict translated to a judgment for compensatory damages against UofL – which was found 60% at fault – in the amount of $5.7 million and against Dr. Morris – which was found 10% at fault – in the amount of $950,000. The remaining 30% of the fault was assessed to settled Defendants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the $6,650,0000 in compensatory damages and ordered that the case be retried as to the $1M punitive damages award only. The Court ruled that while the evidence supported a punitive damages award, the instruction was insufficient because it lacked language that UofL “authorized or ratified or should have anticipated the conduct in question.”
University of Louisville v Harper and Augustus (KY Supreme Court) – 576 S.W.3d 595
The University of Louisville appealed the Jefferson Circuit Court’s November 15, 2013 judgment affirming the jury’s verdict in favor of Laurel Harper and the award of damages with respect to her claim under the Kentucky Whistleblower Act,1 as well as the March 20, 2014 opinion and order awarding Harper’s attorney’s fees and costs. Additionally, Harper cross-appealed the trial court’s opinion and order denying her motion for front-pay damages.
Harper and Augustus v University of Louisville (KY Supreme Court) – 559 S.W.3d 796
Appellant Laurel Harper brought an action in the Jefferson Circuit Court alleging that she was wrongfully terminated from her employment with Appellee, University of Louisville (the University), in violation of the Kentucky Whistleblower Act (KWA), KRS 61.101-61.103. Following a jury trial, Appellant was awarded damages in the form of back pay and mental anguish, plus interest and attorneys’ fees. The trial court denied Harper’s claim for front pay. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment upon its conclusion that the University was entitled to a directed verdict dismissing Harper’s entire whistleblower action as unsupported by sufficient evidence.
Estate of Kitty Walker v. Metropolitan Urology– 2016 Ky. App. Unpub. Lexis 267
The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed a Jefferson County trial court judgment following a defense verdict in a complex bladder cancer case. The Plaintiff suffered an injury to her ureter following surgery performed by two urologic surgeons. The Court of Appeals ruled that it was error to include the Plaintiff-Patient in the jury instructions because it would give the jury the ability to apportion fault to the Plaintiff-Patient in a medical malpractice case. “A patient’s prior condition which required him to be under a physician’s care cannot be a basis for comparative fault in a negligence claim against the physician.”
(The Cumberland one) MacGlashan v ABS LINCS KY, Inc.,– 84 F Supp. 3d 595
MacGlashan v Cumberland Hall Hospital (United States District Court Western District)
The United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ruled, in denying summary judgment, that MacGlashan’s claims for retaliation, public policy wrongful discharge, and emotional distress damages were proper for consideration by a jury. MacGlashan sued Cumberland Hall Hospital for firing her in violation of KRS 216B.165. At the time she was retaliated against and unlawfully discharged she was investigating, as a nurse manager, the facts and circumstances surrounding a patient — with a known sulfa allergy — having an adverse drug reaction when she was mistakenly given a sulfa drug by a Cumberland Hall nurse. The stated reason for termination was a HIPAA violation which made her unemployable in her chosen field of nursing.
Douglas v Advanced Pain Med. P.S.C., – 2015 Ky. App. Unpub. Lexis 883
Douglas v Dr. Dubal
The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the Fayette Circuit Court’s summary judgment in a complex neck cancer case (medullary thyroid cancer). The Court of Appeals ruled that Douglas had presented a triable jury issue as to whether Dr. Dubal injured her because the delay in diagnosis caused Douglas to experience continued pain and resulted in more extensive neck surgeries. The Court affirmed the dismissal of Douglas’ claim that Dr. Dubal injured her because the delayed diagnosis allowed the cancer to progress to a terminal condition. A motion for discretionary review is pending before the Kentucky Supreme Court.
(KY Supreme Court) MacGlashan v ABS LINCS KY, Inc., – 448 S.W.3d 792
MacGlashan v. Cumberland Hall Hospital (KY Supreme Court)
The Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled that employees who claim wrongful discharge pursuant to KRS 216B.165 may recover front pay as an element of damages pursuant to the general remedial provisions of KRS 446.070. This certification of the law was requested by Judge Russell from the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The underlying case involves a nurse manager who was fired for wanting to report to the Office of the Inspector General, while investigating internally, patient safety concerns relative to administration of medication to a patient with a known allergy to that medication. The patient nearly died and required transfer from the defendant behavioral health clinic to a medical hospital for recovery. The purported reason for termination was a HIPAA violation, in effect rendering Molly MacGlashan unemployable. The two nurses involved in the medication error were provided written warnings.
Estate of Stephen W. Dohoney v. International Paper Company– 560 Fed. Appx. 564
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that an employer was not shielded from tort liability by “up-the-ladder” immunity under Kentucky law. The underlying case involves an employee of a crane service company who was fatally electrocuted while performing work on a 60-ton crane at a paper mill. The paper mill had contracted with the crane service company to have its crane serviced. The crane service company paid the employee’s estate his workers’ compensation benefits following the tragic accident. However, the paper mill claimed that it was entitled to immunity from the employee’s tort claims of negligence because the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Act (KWCA) was the exclusive remedy. Specifically, the paper mill claimed that the work performed by the employee, i.e. servicing its cranes, was a regular or recurrent part of the paper mill’s business, thereby making the KWCA the exclusive remedy. The Court of Appeals disagreed with this “up-the-ladder” defense because the specific work being performed by the employee, i.e. replacing limit-switch wiring, was not regularly done by the paper mill. The employee’s estate was entitled to proceed with its claims of negligence against the paper mill.
[Full Opinion] 560 F.App’x 564 (6th Circuit 2014)
Dempsey v. City of Lawrenceburg
Opinion from federal district court denying defendant City of Lawrenceburgs motion for summary judgment in this 1983 case. The City police officers executed an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) taken out by a father against the mother. The EPO did not transfer custody of their child but the officers, inexplicably, took the child from the mother and gave him to the father who had a lengthy and violent criminal history. The father then murdered his child and took his own life.
[Full Opinion] LEXIS 100904 (W.D. Ky. 2010).
Jackson v. Mackin
Appeal to Kentucky Court of Appeals from dismissal of complaint filed against Michael Mackin, a property owner who sold a decrepit home that was in shambles to June Jackson who is blind. The trial court dismissed Ms. Jackson’s complaint based upon her failure to file for arbitration as required by the standard Sales and Purchasing Contract entered into for the purchase of the subject home. The 3 judge panel unanimously ruled, after oral argument, that Mr. Mackin voluntarily waived his right to arbitration because the issue was not raised during discovery. Mr. Mackin waited until shortly before the trial to raise the issue. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case to the trial court for legal proceedings on the merits of the claim.
[Full Opinion] 277 S.W.3d 626 (Ky. App. 2009).
Wadlington v. Rolshouse
Opinion from federal district court denying defendant lawyer’s motion to dismiss legal malpractice claim. The out of state lawyer claimed the court lacked personal jurisdiction over him due to the fact he practiced law in Minnesota from where he failed to advise his Kentucky client of the applicable statute of limitations in Kentucky related to the underlying medical malpractice claim.
[Full Opinion] LEXIS 29071 (W.D. Ky. 2008)
Ford v. Louisville Jefferson County Metro Gov’t, LEXIS 83489 (W.D. Ky 2007)
Opinion from federal district court denying City’s motion for summary judgment which claimed a female’s constitutional rights were not violated during a strip search.
[Full Opinion] LEXIS 83489 (W.D. Ky. 2007)
Wright v. Louisville Jefferson County Metro Gov’t.
Appeal to 6th Circuit from summary judgment granted to City in excessive use of force case brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 where man was shot in the foot by a police officer who was attempting to shoot a pit bull puppy during a search of an apartment.
[Full Opinion 1, Full Opinion 2] LEXIS 19722 (6th Cir. 2006)
Martin v. SITC, Inc.
Opinion from federal district court addressing lack of personal jurisdiction over a parent company where both parent and subsidiary corporations were defendants in a negligent prescription case involving methadone and the death of a child.
[Full Opinion] LEXIS 15293 (W.D. Ky. 2004).
Mulhall v. F.B.I.
Appeal to 6th Circuit from summary judgment granted to the FBI who ran the Louisville Fugitive Task Force which employed officers from the county and city. County officer Mulhall alleged Title VII retaliation because he was a witness for an FBI Special Agent in her own discrimination case.
[Full Opinion] 199 F.Supp.2d 625 (W.D. Ky. 2002).
Kirk v. Watts
Appeal to Kentucky Court of Appeals from summary judgment granted to Watts, the lawyer who formerly represented Ms. Kirk in bankruptcy where Watts told the client not to list her sexual harassment case as an asset. As a result Ms. Kirk lost her sexual harassment case to the bankruptcy. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s summary judgment and remanded the case back to the trial court.
[Full Opinion] 62 S.W.3d 37 (Ky.App. 2001).
Barton v. United Parcel Service, Inc.
Opinion from federal district court allowing hostile environment claim of Ms. Barton to the jury where she was subjected to ongoing sexual harassment by coworkers despite repeated complaints to her supervisors.
[Full Opinion] 175 F.Supp.2d 904 (W.D. Ky. 2001).
Good v. MMR Group, Inc.,
Opinion from federal district court granting summary judgment to employer on the basis it took effective corrective action.
[Full Opinion] LEXIS 20036 (W.D. Ky. 2001)
Effinger v. Philip Morris, Inc.
Opinion from federal district court granting partial summary judgment to supervisors of female employee in a sexual harassment suit because both the Kentucky and federal Civil Rights Acts did not invoke individual agent liability.
[Full Opinion] 984 F. Supp. 1043 (W.D. Ky. 1997)
Roy v. Russell County Ambulance Service
Opinion from federal district court allowing plaintiff, Roy, to amend and broaden her employment discrimination claim against her employer, a local ambulance service.
[Full Opinion] 809 F.Supp. 517 (W.D. Ky. 1992).