St. Louis Record

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Judgment in favor of Saint Francis Medical Center reversed

By Sam Knef | Nov 22, 2017

Medical malpractice 06

CAPE GIRARDEAU — Appeals court judges have reversed a summary judgment finding in favor of Saint Francis Medical Center in a woman's personal injury lawsuit by concluding that issues presented are questions of fact that should be decided by a jury.

In a Nov. 14 ruling, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District/Southern Division ruled that the claims of plaintiff Kathy Christian "remain for the jury's determination." The case was remanded to Cape Girardeau Circuit Court Judge Benjamin F. Lewis.

Christian had claimed she suffered a fractured femur after falling on a curb, which she argued she did not see and was not warned about.

According to background information in the ruling, the incident occurred in September 2012 during Christian's  scope of employment driving to the hospital to pick up a client following medical treatment.

As Christian approached the pick-up area that was congested at the time, a valet motioned to her to pull into a left oncoming lane and to park at the curb, which, the ruling states, was not painted to contrast with the drive. When she exited her vehicle, she stumbled on the curb, which caused her injury.

The ruling states that summary judgment was granted in favor of defendant "without explanation."

Justices Lawrence E. Mooney, Philip M. Hess and Chief Justice James M. Dowd found that given the record available, "we cannot conclude as a matter of law based on facts about which there is no genuine dispute, that the far curb, which was similar in color to the driveway, was so open and obvious that the defendant could reasonably rely on an invitee to see and appreciate the risk of danger as she exited her vehicle at the direction of the defendant's valet while parking in the oncoming traffic lane amidst congested traffic conditions.

"Because material questions remain for the jury's determination, the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for the defendant," the justices held.

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Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern DistrictSaint Francis Medical Center