MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) – The Alabama Supreme Court has backed a lower court’s ruling as it denied a woman’s post-judgment request for a new trial in a wrongful death case.
Plaintiff Alisa Ansley lost her initial wrongful death case against Inmed Group Inc., doing business as Bullock County Hospital (BCH), and others. The jury in the trial court ruled in favor of the defendants as Ansley represented the deceased, James W. Ansley.
The Supreme Court affirmed the Bullock Circuit Court’s decision May 4 and explained Alisa Ansley did not provide sufficient evidence the trial court went beyond its level of discretion when it rejected her post-judgment motion for a new trial.
According to the opinion, the late James W. Ansley was taken to BCH’s emergency room after experiencing chest pain. He was transferred to Baptist Medical Center South after his conditions worsened, where he later passed.
Alisa Ansley took legal action against the operator of Baptist South, which later reached a settlement agreement with her. She sued Dr. Ireneo Domingo Jr. and BCH along with a handful of other defendants.
After the trial court denied her motion for a judgment as a matter of law under her claims Domingo violated the “standard of care applicable to a hospitalist,” Alisa Ansley said the trial court erred and appealed.
The Supreme Court pointed out the defendants’ argument that a jury question existed as to whether if Domingo was indeed a “hospitalist” when James Ansley was taken to Baptist South. Considering the jury question, the defendants said the trial court did not err.
The Supreme Court agreed with the defendants and the trial court for a number of reasons. James Ansley was never officially admitted to BCH after his condition worsened during an incident in the bathroom in which he became short of breath. Instead, he was an emergency room patron when he was taken to Baptist South.
Medical bills during James Ansley's Bullock County Hospital stay also prove that he was billed for his time in the emergency room, not an actual hospital room. The Supreme Court added Alisa Ansley did not provide any evidence as to whether there was a jury question on if “Dr. Domingo acted in his role as a hospitalist” when he decided to transfer James Ansley to Baptist South.
Considering this, the Supreme Court denied Alisa Ansley’s motion that she should be given a new trial under the notion that the trial court made a mistake in denying her a JML. It also stated Alisa Ansley did not prove the trial court exceeded its discretion and affirmed the lower court’s decision.