Judge dismisses several co-defendants in hospital suit
by Eric Snyder -- esnyder@cadizrecord.com
Mar 15, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Circuit Judge Bill Cunningham dismissed with prejudice several co-defendants in a suit involving Trigg County Hospital last week.

Hospital attorneys also submitted a motion to dismiss another suit, stemming from the same incident, filed against the hospital and Dr. Alan Briones, a motion Cunningham had yet to rule on by deadline Monday.

“Must be hospital day,” Cunningham said March 8, commenting on the fact he was hearing two successive cases involving the hospital.

The two suits, both still set for an Aug. 15 court date before a jury, stem from an October 2004 incident in which Creta Mitchell and George Etheridge contracted Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) after receiving injections from the Primary Care Clinic.

Mitchell died from her infection and Etheridge allegedly sustained leg-muscle damage.

Ernest Mitchell, Creta’s widow, brought suit on behalf of his wife. It was part of his suit in which Cunningham dismissed several pharmaceutical companies — including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson Diversey, Inc., and Huntington Professional Products — after Mitchell’s attorneys failed to submit any evidence of wrong doing on part of the companies.

As the claims are dismissed with prejudice, attorneys cannot file any more charges against the companies as they pertain to Creta Mitchell’s case.

In a petition to the court dated Feb. 23, attorney Ben Fletcher said it was “premature” to dismiss the defendants with prejudice because “it is very possible that new evidence may arise through the course of discovery.”

Fletcher explained in court that a 30-day deadline to file such evidence had lapsed because the case was being transferred from the hands of attorney Jamus Redd when he took the bench as 56th District Judge.

In the other suit, that involving George Etheridge, attorneys from Trigg County Hospital submitted a motion to dismiss the suit against Dr. Alan Briones, arguing it is in the wrong jurisdiction and that its “bare bones” language lacks substance.

“It clearly fails points of law,” attorney Todd Thompson said. “It just simply fails to state claims against Dr. Briones.”

Lucius Hawes said the language of the suit is intentionally vague, an act he said was done out of courtesy for Briones.

Hawes noted that such court documents are public records and that more details could hinder Dr. Briones’ ability to practice medicine in a “small town.”

Hawes said he would submit new language if Trigg County Hospital’s attorneys so insisted.

Cunningham said he’d make a ruling by March 22. If the suit is dismissed, Hawes will have time to resubmit a suit with revised language before an April statute-of-limitations deadline.
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