Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court

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A jury found Cecil Emerson was a sexually violent predator, and the district court ordered him committed. In 2001, Emerson filed a notice of appeal. The Court of Appeals ultimately dismissed the appeal in 2002 after Emerson’s counsel failed to file a brief. In 2014, Emerson moved the district court to permit an out-of-time appeal of the underlying ruling that he was a sexually violent predator. The district court ruled that it would give Emerson the right to appeal based upon his previous counsel’s lack of action after the notice of appeal was filed and the appeal was dismissed. In 2015, Emerson filed a notice of appeal. The Court of Appeals concluded that Emerson was entitled to an out-of-time appeal based on principles of fundamental fairness and then rejected Emerson’s arguments. Emerson petitioned for review. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the district court lost jurisdiction to authorize the filing of the out-of-time direct appeal when the initial appeal was docketed in the Court of Appeals, and therefore, the district court could not set aside the order of the Court of Appeals and reinstate the appeal. View "In re Care & Treatment of Emerson" on Justia Law

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The State sought to have Todd Ellison, a convicted sex offender, involuntarily committed under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act. Under the Act, Ellison was entitled to a jury trial during which the State must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Ellison, however, waited in jail for more than four years without a trial. The district court concluded that the delay violated Ellison’s due process rights, dismissed the action, and ordered Ellison released. A court of appeals panel reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings to more fully address the due process issue. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and affirmed the order of release, holding (1) the district court did not err when it applied Barker v. Wingo to Ellison’s due process claim; and (2) the court of appeals panel erred when it concluded that the district court failed to render adequate factual findings and incorrectly based its release order solely on the length of delay. View "In re Care & Treatment of Ellison" on Justia Law

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Paul Sykes was convicted of burglary and aggravated sexual battery. Prior to the expiration of his sentence, the State filed a petition seeking to have Sykes adjudicated a sexually violent predator. Although Sykes was found incompetent to assist in his own defense, the district court ultimately ruled Sykes was a sexually violent predator and ordered him committed. The court of appeals affirmed. Sykes appealed, arguing that due process requires that a respondent be mentally competent to assist in his or her own defense in order to be civilly adjudicated a sexually violent predator. The Supreme Court affirmed the adjudication, holding that a respondent need not be competent to be adjudicated a sexually violent predator under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act, and therefore, Sykes did not suffer a violation of his due process rights. View "In re Care & Treatment of Sykes" on Justia Law

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On the second anniversary of her husband Curley's death, Plaintiff, individually and as the representative of the estate of Curley, filed a lawsuit against defendants Doctor and Hospital, in which she raised wrongful death and survival claims based on alleged medical malpractice. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, finding that Plaintiff's claims were barred by a two-year limitation period. In so concluding, the court found that the causes of action accrued on the last date on which Defendants' negligence could have occurred and the date on which Curley's injuries were first ascertainable. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the basis for Plaintiff's lawsuit did not accrue until Curley's death. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the court of appeals' judgment as to the wrongful death action, holding that a claim for wrongful death accrues on the date of death unless information regarding the fact of death or the wrongful act that causes the death was concealed or misrepresented; and (2) reversed the court of appeals' holding regarding the statute of limitations applicable to the survival action, holding that the survival action in this case was barred by the statute of limitations. View "Martin v. Naik" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued Doctor for medical malpractice arising out of surgeries to treat her tracheal stenosis. Doctor filed a motion in limine to prevent Plaintiff's subsequent treating physician from testifying about the standard of care. The district court granted the motion because Plaintiff's treating physician did not meet the requirements of Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-3412. Under the statute, Plaintiff's treating physician must have spent at least fifty percent of his professional time within the two years before Plaintiff's first surgery in actual clinical practice if Plaintiff wished him to testify as an expert on the applicable standard of care. The court subsequently granted summary judgment for Doctor because, in the absence of expert testimony on the standard of care, Plaintiff could not carry her burden of proof. the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the fifty percent rule for expert witnesses under section 60-3412 is inapplicable to treating physicians; and (2) therefore, the district court erred in granting summary judgment for Doctor. View "Schlaikjer v. Kaplan" on Justia Law

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Keely Foster, a minor, and her parents, Kim and Kevin Foster, sued Keely's pediatric orthapedic surgeon, Dr. Michelle Klaumann, for injury done to a nerve in Keely's leg while Keely was undergoing surgery. After a trial, the jury found in favor of Klaumann. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the jury verdict, holding (1) it was not error to instruct the jury on both a general physician standard of care and a specialist standard of care when the parties did not dispute Klaumann was a specialist; and (2) the "best judgment" instruction does not misstate the law by instructing the jury that the physician has a right to use his or her best judgment in the selection of the choice of treatment. View "Foster v. Klaumann" on Justia Law

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Parents, individually and on behalf of their daughter (Daughter), filed a medical malpractice action against Hospital under respondeat superior, alleging that Hospital's employee, an obstetrical nurse (Nurse), breached the standard of care which caused permanent injury to Daughter. The jury returned a verdict for Hospital. The court of appeals affirmed. Parents appealed, contending that one jury instruction erroneously directed the jury to apply a community nursing standard of care when all of their twelve negligence claims were governed by a national standard. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the instruction given was correct for the negligence allegation based upon chain of command because it was governed by a community standard of care. View "Bates v. Dodge City Healthcare Group" on Justia Law

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Appellant, a medical doctor practicing medicine in Kansas and Missouri, appealed from the district court's order denying her petition to revoke an administrative subpoena issued by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's determination that Appellant was not required to exhaust administrative remedies before seeking relief from the district court under Kan. Stat. Ann. 65-2839a(b)(3)(B). On the merits of the appeal, the Court affirmed the district court's denial of Appellant's petition based on its conclusion that the Board had authority under the Kansas Healing Arts Act to investigate and subpoena Appellant, a Kansas licensee who was practicing under the Act, even though the investigation was based upon her practice of medicine in Missouri. View "Ryser v. State" on Justia Law

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The Taranto Group contracted with two outside vendors to send out advertising via facsimile transmissions on its behalf. It was later calculated that at least 5,000 transmissions were made in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). A doctor brought an action individually and as a class representative against the Taranto Group, seeking damages and injunction relief under the TCPA and tort damages for conversion. A professional corporation then sought to intervene as an additional class representative. The district court issued an order certifying the proposed class and, in an amended order, certified the order for interlocutory appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's determination that class certification was appropriate in this case, holding, among other things, that the district court (1) correctly found the plaintiffs met their burden of demonstrating that they met the statutory requirements for class certification, (2) properly determined that a class action in this case was superior to individual small claims actions, and (3) properly concluded that a class action would avoid inconsistent adjudications.

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Judith Berry brought negligence and consumer protection claims against defendants National Medical Services and Compass Vision after her urinalysis tests conducted as part of Berry's participation in the Kansas Nurses Assistance Program (KNAP) showed positive results, which meant Berry tested positive for substance abuse in violation of Berry's KNAP agreement. Berry claimed Defendants were negligent in designing, implementing, promoting, and managing their testing protocol and that Defendants knew that because she was a participant in KNAP, her nursing license would be in jeopardy if she tested positive. The district court dismissed Berry's petition with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The court of appeals reversed on the negligence claim, finding that Berry was a foreseeable plaintiff, that the probability of harm was foreseeable, and that there was no public policy against imposing a duty on Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Berry was a foreseeable plaintiff and the probability of harm was foreseeable; and (2) there was no public policy to extend protection to Defendants simply because they contracted with a government agency. Remanded.