Justia Missouri Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Health Law
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the administrative hearing commission determining that certain pain treatment service items used in compounding medications do not fall under the use tax exemption in Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.054.2 for materials used or consumed in compounding a product, holding that the commission correctly determined that the Interventional Center for Pain Management (Center) did not qualify for the compounding exemption under section 144.054.2. The director of revenue assessed $69,311 in tax liability for a five-year period against Center after discovering that Center did not file a use tax return or pay use tax on certain out-of-state purchases. Center contested use tax liability for certain items used for the injection of prescription drug compounds, asserting that the devices were exempt from use tax as materials used in compounding operation under section 144.054.2. The administrative hearing petition upheld the assessment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Center failed to meet its burden of proof to prove its purchases were used in the compounding of a product for sale, as required for the compounding exemption under section 144.054.2. View "Interventional Center for Pain Management v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Tax Law
by
The Supreme Court made permanent a writ of prohibition to prevent the circuit court from ordering Relator to submit to a mental evaluation pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. chapter 552, holding that chapter 552 did not authorize the circuit court to order the department of mental health to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of Relator. Relator was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree burglary, and other offenses. Relator asserted that he was not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. The State sought an order for a mental evaluation pursuant to chapter 552. The circuit court granted the motion. Relator then petitioned the court of appeals for a writ of prohibition, and the court of appeals granted the writ. The Supreme Court granted transfer and made permanent a writ of probation, holding that the circuit court exceeded its authority by ordering Relator to undergo a mental evaluation pursuant to chapter 552 when Relator intended to rely only on the diminished capacity defense because the circuit court lacked reasonable cause to question his competence to stand trial. View "Caruthers v. Honorable Wendy Wexler-Horn" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court against St. Luke’s Surgicenter-Lee’s Summit LLC on a negligent credentialing claim brought by Thomas and Paula Tharp, holding that the Tharps failed to make a submissible case of negligent credentialing. Thomas Tharp suffered injuries when a surgeon operating out of St. Luke’s damaged his hepatic duct and common bile duct. The Tharps filed suit against the surgeon and St. Luke’s and then settled with the surgeon. The Tharps proceeded to trial against St. Luke’s on the claim that St. Luke’s negligently granted the surgeon staff privileges at its hospital. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Tharps, and the circuit court entered judgment in favor of the Tharps. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was insufficient evidence to support the Tharps’s negligent credentialing claim. View "Tharp v. St. Luke's Surgicenter-Lee's Summit, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Carl Kirk was committed to the custody of the Department of Mental Health under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), Mo. Rev. Stat. 632.480 through 632.525. On appeal, the court of appeals transferred the case to the Supreme Court on the ground that the appeal involved issues within the Supreme Court’s exclusive appellate jurisdiction as set forth in Mo. Const. art. V, section 3. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the issues raised in this case did not fall within the Supreme Court’s exclusive appellate jurisdiction, and even thought he court of appeals erred in transferring the case, the Supreme Court granted transfer prior to opinion pursuant to Rule 83.01 and therefore had jurisdiction; (2) the SVPA, among other things, evidences no punitive intent and violates no constitutional prohibits against ex post facto laws, and the standard of proof required under the SVPA and employed in Kirk’s case is not unconstitutional; and (3) Kirk’s remaining claims of error were unavailing. View "In re Care & Treatment of Kirk" on Justia Law

by
Defendant was committed to the custody of the Department of Mental Health under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), Mo. Rev. Stat. 632.480 through 632.525. On appeal, the court of appeals transferred the case to the Supreme Court on the ground that the appeal involved issues within the Supreme Court’s exclusive appellate jurisdiction. For the reasons set forth in In re Care & Treatment of Kirk, __ S.W.3d __ (Mo. 2017), decided also on this day, Defendant’s constitutional claims were “merely colorable” and did not invoke the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. However, the court, on its own motion, granted transfer from the court of appeals prior to opinion pursuant to Rule 83.01 and therefore had jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant’s constitutional claims that the purpose and effect of the SVPA is punitive are rejected; and (2) Defendant’s remaining claims on appeal were unavailing. View "In re Care & Treatment of Nelson" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed a wrongful death action alleging that the negligent chiropractic services of Defendants caused the death of their relative. Plaintiffs filed an affidavit stating that they obtained the written opinion of a qualified health care provider in support of their claims as required by Mo. Rev. Stat. 538.225. Plaintiffs later voluntarily dismissed that action. Thereafter, Plaintiffs refiled an identical petition in the same court but did not attach the affidavit to their new petition. The trial court dismissed the action without prejudice under action 538.225 because Plaintiffs failed to file the affidavit within 180 days of filing the second action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly sustained Defendants’ motion to dismiss without prejudice for Plaintiffs’ failure to comply with the requirements of section 538.225. View "Lang v. Goldsworthy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Injury Law
by
Plaintiffs filed wrongful death and lost chance of recovery claims against Defendants-health care providers. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their first case but refiled the same claims in a second case. The trial court dismissed the second case for failure to file health care affidavits as required by Mo. Rev. Stat. 538.225. In their third case, Plaintiffs refiled their petition, along with the required affidavits. The trial court dismissed the third case as barred by the statute of limitations. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment dismissing the second and third cases, holding (1) Plaintiffs failed to preserve their constitutional challenges to section 538.225 and failed to show they had substantially complied with the statute; and (2) the trial court correctly applied the statute of limitations in finding that the claims in the third case were time barred. View "Mayes v. Saint Luke’s Hosp. of Kansas City" on Justia Law

by
After John Doe's HIV test results were sent by Quest to the church where Doe worked as personal assistant to the pastor, Doe filed suit against Quest Diagnostics Clinic Laboratories (Quest Laboratories) and its parent, Quest Diagnostics, alleging wrongful disclosure of HIV test results and breach of fiduciary duty. The trial court (1) entered a directed verdict in favor of Quest Diagnostics on the ground it was a separate corporation from Quest Laboratories and did not exercise such control over the latter that the corporate veil should be pierced; and (2) found in favor of Quest Laboratories on both counts. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment in favor of Quest Laboratories, holding that the trial court (1) committed prejudicial error in submitting an affirmative defense instruction requiring the jury to find for Quest Laboratories if it found Doe gave it "written authorization" to disclose his HIV test results, as the instruction was not supported by the evidence; and (2) erred in submitting Doe's claim of breach of fiduciary duty, as an adequate remedy at law already existed under Missouri statute. Remanded. View "Doe v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Deborah Watts filed the underlying medical malpractice action alleging that her son was born with disabling brain injuries because Cox Medical Centers and its associated physicians (collectively, Cox) provided negligent health care services. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Watts and awarded $1.45 million in non-economic damages and $3.37 million in future medical damages. The trial court entered a judgment reducing Watts' non-economic damages to $350,000 as required by Mo. Rev. Stat. 538.210. The judgment also established a periodic payment schedule that required immediate payment of half of all net future medical damages with the other half paid in equal annual installments over the next fifty years with an interest rate of 0.26 percent. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the judgment to the extent it capped non-economic damages pursuant to section 538.210; (2) reversed the judgment to the extent that the trial court entered a periodic payment schedule that did not assure full recovery; and (3) affirmed in all other respects. View "Watts v. Lester E. Cox Med. Ctrs." on Justia Law

by
St. John's Mercy Health System challenged the validity of the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee (MHFRC) rule that exempted new hospitals costing less than $1 million from the statutory requirement of obtaining a certificate of need. St. John's further sought to enjoin the MHFRC from applying the rule and granting Patients First Community Hospital an exemption from the certificate of need requirement. The trial court held that the case was not justiciable and dismissed the action without prejudice but proceeded to address the merits of St. John's claim, finding that the MHFRC had not exceeded its authority in promulgating the rule. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment as modified, holding (1) the case was ripe for judicial review; and (2) the new hospital rule was valid, and the MHFRC was within its authority to promulgate the rule. View "Mercy Hosps. E. Cmtys. v. Mo. Health Facilities Review Comm." on Justia Law