Curry v. Healthsouth North Rehabilitation Hospital- Homer Campus (58 So.3d 1143)

Louisiana-nursing-home-neglect-elderly-man-300x200Articles: Louisiana

Curry v. Healthsouth North Rehabilitation Hospital- Homer Campus (58 So.3d 1143)

CASE:
Curry v. Healthsouth North Rehabilitation Hospital- Homer Campus (58 So.3d 1143)
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Curry
Defendant (Appellant) – Healthsouth North Rehabilitation Hospital- Homer Campus
COURT:
Court of Appeals of Louisiana (2011)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

Curry brought a medical malpractice action against Healthsouth. Healthsouth admitted liability. The trail court awarded general and special damages to Curry, and ordered Curry to pay part of the costs for depositions and medical records related to the case. Curry appealed the decision.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Curry was a patient at Healthsouth in 2002 as she recovered from the effects of a stroke that occurred several years earlier. On August 29, 2002, a nurse tech, Sue Weathers, was assisting Curry to stand at her bedside. While Curry had her right hand on the bed rail, the bed began rolling backward and Curry lost her balance. Weathers was able to ease Curry’s fall to the floor, but in the process, Curry’s right arm became entangled in the bed rail, causing two fractures or the upper right arm.

Curry claimed that she had permanent loss of use  of her right arm and hand as a result of the fall. Healthsouth admitted liability but claimed that the right arm and hand were rendered useless as a result of the stroke Curry suffered years earlier. The matter was submitted to a medical review panel. The panel concluded that the loss of use of her right hand was caused by the stroke and that any disability caused by the fall was minimal at best. Curry then filed her suit against Healthsouth.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

The trial court entered judgment against Healthsouth on the issue of liability. After a bench trial on the subject of damages, the court awarded Curry $30,000 in general damages for pain and suffering, and $3,198.90 in special damages for medical expenses. Court costs were assessed against Healthsouth, but the costs associated with the deposition for two doctors were assessed against Curry.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

1)     Did the District Court abuse its discretion in its general damages award?

2)     Was District Court wrong in its award of special damages?

3)     Did District Court abuse its discretion in its assessment of costs for depositions against Curry?

4)     Did District Court’ assessment of those costs constitute a sanction?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:

 

1)     N0

2)     No

3)     Yes

4)     No

RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
“Before an appellate court may disturb an award for general damages, the record must clearly reveal that the trial court abused its broad discretion in making the award, based on the facts and circumstances peculiar to the case and the individual under consideration.”

  • Youn v. Maritime Overseas Corp.. 623 So.2d 1257 (La.1993)

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