United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - 947 F.Supp.2d 1001, 947 F. Supp. 2d 1001
Tags: Emotional Distress
In the 2013 case Kaplan v. Mayo Clinic, a Minnesota federal court dealt with a medical malpractice issue between patient Elliot Kaplan and healthcare provider Mayo Clinic. The case involved a wrongful cancer diagnosis and resulting surgery. Kaplan sued Mayo Clinic and the doctors involved for multiple claims, such as breach of contract and negligent misdiagnosis.
The court eventually ruled in favor of Mayo Clinic and the doctors on most of the charges, and the case went to trial for breach of contract and negligent misdiagnosis. The jury sided with Mayo Clinic, which was upheld by the appeals court. They found that Mayo Clinic and the doctors did not act negligently based on the information available at the time and that there wasn't evidence of a specific promise regarding the diagnosis or treatment.
This case highlights the legal challenges and standards related to medical malpractice claims, including negligence, causation, damages, informed consent, battery, and more. It's relevant for individuals working with healthcare providers and seeking to understand their rights and responsibilities in case of medical errors or injuries.
The case involves a surgery performed on Elliot Kaplan for pancreatic cancer, which he was later found not to have. Kaplan and his wife sued Mayo Clinic, Dr. Nagorney, and Dr. Burgart. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of Dr. Nagorney and found Mayo and Dr. Burgart not liable for negligent failure to diagnose. The Eighth Circuit reversed the lower court's decision on the breach of contract claim, stating that Dr. Nagorney breached the contract by not performing an intraoperative biopsy to confirm the cancer diagnosis before the surgery. The court found that a contract was formed between Dr. Nagorney, on behalf of Mayo, and Kaplan when he allegedly promised to perform an intraoperative biopsy to confirm the cancer diagnosis in exchange for Kaplan's authorization and payment for the Whipple procedure. The court also found that a jury could conclude that the contract was breached because Dr. Nagorney failed to perform the promised intraoperative biopsy. The court remanded the case for further proceedings on the breach of contract claim. The Eighth Circuit upheld the lower court's verdict in favor of the defendants on all of the Kaplans' tort claims, meaning that extra-contractual damages cannot be recovered since there is no independent tort in the present case. Pain and suffering and emotional distress damages are considered extra-contractual damages in Minnesota. Minnesota law restricts recoverable contractual damages to those that are pecuniary in nature and measurable by a definite rule or standard of compensation.
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