This summary also appears under Healthcare Law
Issues: Medical malpractice; Summary disposition in contravention of a party's due process rights; Al-Maliki v. LaGrant; Vicarious liability; Cox v. Flint Bd. of Hosp. Managers; Nippa v. Botsford Gen. Hosp.; Al-Shimmari v. Detroit Med. Ctr.; Principle that a determination of the issue in a suit brought against the principal bars an action against the agents; De Polo v. Greig; Distinction between a dismissal with prejudice and without prejudice; MCR 2.504(B)(3); Yeo v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Ins. Co.; McIntyre v. McIntyre
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Published)
Case Name: Grimmer v. Lee
e-Journal Number: 59624
Judge(s): Per Curiam – Shapiro, Gleicher, and Ronayne Krause
The court held that the trial court erred by dismissing the plaintiff's vicarious liability claims against the defendants-hospitals in his claim that the defendants-doctors' medical malpractice caused his wife's death. Plaintiff sued defendants alleging that the doctor defendants' medical malpractice caused the death of his wife, and that the hospital defendants were vicariously liable. The trial court dismissed one of the doctors (a vascular surgeon affiliated with the hospital defendants) without prejudice for want of service, and then dismissed the vicarious liability allegations with prejudice. On appeal, the court held that the trial court should not have summarily dismissed the vicarious liability claims because the hospital defendants never sought summary disposition, and, even if they had, they would have been unsuccessful. "In summarily dismissing the defendants who allegedly bore vicarious liability for [the vascular surgeon's] negligent acts, the [trial] court bypassed the basic due process requirements of notice and an opportunity to be heard." It also rejected defense counsel's contention as to plaintiff's counsel's failure to personally attend the motion hearing. "Counsel cannot be faulted for deferring a personal appearance after having clearly communicated that she had no objection to the specific relief sought in the motions actually filed." Finally, the court held that the "without-prejudice dismissal of [the vascular surgeon] entered by the [trial] court was not a adjudication on the merits. Thus, it did not bar an action against [his] principals. The [trial] court erred by affording its 'without prejudice' dismissal order preclusive effect." Reversed and remanded.
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