Articles Posted in Colorado Supreme Court

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The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was a trial court's order striking the testimony of plaintiff's rebuttal expert witness, and portions of two of plaintiff's previously disclosed expert witnesses. The underlying case centered on a medical malpractice claim brought by the parents of a minor child against a hospital, its management and the doctor that delivered the child. The minor was allegedly injured at birth after his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, depriving his brain of oxygen. The parties disputed the cause of the child's injuries: Plaintiffs argued the child was injured by preventable intrapartum events (namely Defendants' alleged negligence); defendants argued the injuries occurred days, or possibly weeks prior to birth. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court held that the trial court abused its discretion when it excluded plaintiff's expert's rebuttal testimony because her testimony properly refuted a central theory of the defendants' case. The trial court also abused its discretion when it excluded the disclosed experts' testimony because the late disclosure of their testimony did not harm the defendants, as required for sanctions under Rule 37. Accordingly, the Court made the rule absolute and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "In re Warden v. Exempla" on Justia Law

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Respondent Robert Lego admitted his wife to Porter Hospital's emergency room. She stayed there for approximately two months. The Legos' insurance provider notified Respondent in writing that it would stop covering Mrs. Lego's hospital care after six weeks. Respondent disputed the insurer's position and refused to discharge his wife from the hospital after six weeks. The hospital followed the insurer in notifying Respondent the insurance coverage for Mrs. Lego would end, and that the Legos would be responsible for any uncovered charges. In an effort to recoup those charges Respondent refused to pay, the hospital sued on the grounds of unjust enrichment with recovery in quantum meruit. Respondent moved to dismiss, arguing that the action was barred by a general statute of limitations codified in section 13-80-103.5(1)(a) C.R.S. (2011). The trial court denied the motion; the appellate court reversed, finding the trial court erred in determining the amount the insurance company did not pay was liquidated or determinable damages within the meaning of the statute. The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court, interpreting section 13-80-103.5(1)(a) C.R.S. (2011) to mean its six-year limitations period applied in this case, particularly when the amount owed was ascertainable either by reference to the agreement, or by simple computation using extrinsic evidence. View "Portercare Adventist Health System v. Lego" on Justia Law