• June 22, 2012

Plaintiff Jeffrey Veches, represented by well-known plaintiff’s counsel, Jill Clark, alleged that he got in a car accident as he was en route to the pharmacy for treatment for his vasovagal syncope (“fainting”) (next time, consider a cab?).  A Minneapolis police officer, showing up on the scene after an accident and suspecting Veches of drunk driving, was allegedly less than sensitive to Veches’ condition and even roughed Veches up.

Not only did Veches bring suit against the police officer.  He brought suit against the medical care providers because, he alleged, they essentially bought into the police officer’s allegations that Veches was trouble (putting him in restraints) and allegedly covered up the police officer’s alleged attack on Veches.

Sound like medical malpractice to you?  Me, neither. But…

the allegations, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held this week, still required an “affidavit of expert review” under Minnesota’s medical malpractice statute because the claim

 against the health-care-provider respondents is based on the allegation that the doctors breached the duty of care they owed to appellant as their patient; failed to remove appellant’s restraints; failed to take appellant to his requested care center; and misrepresented information in their reports. The claims based on the restraints, transportation, and security at HCMC implicate medical judgment…

When in doubt, get an expert opinion (which, admittedly, can be easily said and impossible to do (which is the whole point of requiring them)).

The Veches opinion is also worth reading if readers wish to see how very few lawyers relate to judges.  Clark challenged the presiding trial court judge, Hennepin County District Court Judge Lloyd B. Zimmerman, taking the position that he was “unable to handle any scrutiny or criticism,” that he held plaintiff’s counsel to “minor, minor details of litigation” (like deadlines), and that he allegedly violated ethical rules regarding “ex parte” communication.

Clark’s challenge to Judge Zimmerman failed (though she was successful in getting a sanction against her reversed).

(Reputations are often expressed in terms of precious metals (sterling, golden, platinum, and so on).  The most precious metal of them all is reputed to be rhodium though there are more than a few who value zimmermanium even ahead of that.))

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