Justia Health Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the circuit court to overturn a final order of the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services dismissing an administrative action against Appalachian Hospice Care, Inc., holding that there was no error.At issue on appeal was whether the Secretary erred in concluding that a non-lawyer's request for an administrative hearing on behalf of a corporate entity constitutes the unauthorized practice of law requiring dismissal of the administrative action. The lower courts answered the question in the negative. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no unauthorized practice of law in this case. View "Cabinet for Health & Family Services v. Appalachian Hospice Care, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court opining on the constitutionality of the Governor's 2021 COVID-19 legislation and enjoining the Governor from interfering with Plaintiffs' business operations, holding that Plaintiff lacked standing to bring this action.In its 2021 regular session, the General Assembly passed three bills amending the Governor's emergency powers under Ky. Rev. Stat. 39A. Plaintiff, a business, sought to enjoin the Governor from any action contrary to the 2021 legislation. The circuit court entered an amended judgment declaring the constitutionality of the 2021 COVID-19 legislation, holding any orders to the contrary imposed by the Governor unconstitutional, and prohibiting the three named defendants from enforcing any emergency order, decree or regulation in conflict with the 2021 legislation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiff plainly had no standing to bring this action, and the circuit court had no jurisdiction. View "Beshear v. Ridgeway Properties, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court vacated the trial court's order granting a temporary injunction enjoining Defendants from enforcing against only the individual Plaintiffs multiple specifically enumerated executive orders, administrative regulations, and directives, holding that the trial court erred.Plaintiffs, several businesses, filed suit against the Governor, the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, seeking declaratory relief, a temporary injunctions and a permanent injunction regarding the Governor's orders related to COVID-19. The circuit court granted temporary injunctive relief. The Supreme Court vacated the order, holding that the trial court erred by refusing to allow the Governor to call witnesses and present evidence. View "Beshear v. Goodwood Brewing Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court compelling Plaintiff to arbitrate his claims of wrongful death and negligence against Signature HealthCARE of East Louisville, holding that arbitration was required on all claims.To secure his father's admittance into Signature, a long-term care facility, Plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement as his father's authorized representative. After his father died, Plaintiff brought a negligence and wrongful death claim against Signature. Signature filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed in part, holding that Plaintiff's wrongful death claim was arbitrable because he signed the arbitration agreement in his individual capacity. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that both Plaintiff's individual claims and that claims he brought as the representative of his father's estate were subject to arbitration. View "LP Louisville East, LLC v. Patton" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Henderson County Health Care Corporation's (hereinafter, Redbanks) petition for a writ of prohibition prohibiting the enforcement of an order issued by Judge Karen Wilson of the Henderson Circuit Court compelling Redbanks to produce certain consultant reports to the real party of interest, Roland McGuire, holding that the court of appeals erred.Specifically, the Supreme Court held Redbanks was entitled to the issuance of the writ because the consultant reports at issue in this case were protected by the Federal Quality Assurance Privilege, 42 U.S.C. 1396r(b)(1)(B) and 42 U.S.C. 1395i-3(b)(1)(B), because they were used for quality assurance purposes. View "Henderson County Health Care Corp. v. Honorable Karen Lynn Wilson" on Justia Law

by
In this action brought against a long-term care facility by Kenneth, as administrator of Estate of Tommy Patton, the Supreme Court reversed in part the court of appeals' decision concluding that an arbitration agreement was enforceable as to Kenneth's individual wrongful death claim but that the agreement was not enforceable as to the Estate's claims, holding that the agreement was valid as to both claims.Kenneth signed an arbitration agreement at the time his father, Tommy, was admitted to Signature HealthCARE of East Louisville's long-term care facility. Tommy later suffered a fall and died a few weeks later. Kenneth brought sued Signature, alleging negligence and wrongful death. Signature filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion in its entirety. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding that the arbitration agreement was not enforceable against the Estate but that Kenneth's wrongful death claim was arbitrable because he executed the arbitration agreement in his individual capacity. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that both the Estate's and Kenneth's individual claims were subject to arbitration because the arbitration agreement was valid and enforceable as to the Estate claim and as to Kenneth's individual wrongful death claim. View "LP Louisville East, LLC v. Patton" on Justia Law

by
In this action seeking a declaration that the University of Kentucky is not an agency within the executive branch the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's decision that sovereign immunity did not bar this action against the University but reversed the court's holding that the University is not within the executive branch.The University referred Plaintiff's delinquent UK HealthCare accounts to the Commonwealth, Department of Revenue for collection. The Department's collection efforts included imposition of a twenty-five percent collection fee and interest and garnishment of Plaintiff's paychecks, bank accounts, and tax refunds. Plaintiff petitioned for a declaration that the University was not an agency within the executive branch, as required by Ky. Rev. Stat. 45.237(1)(a), and therefore was not authorized to refer its accounts to the Department. The circuit court trial court granted Plaintiff's motion for declaratory judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the University is within the executive branch of the state government for purposes of Ky. Rev. Stat. 45.237 et seq.; and (2) sovereign immunity did not bar this declaratory judgment action. View "University of Kentucky v. Moore" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals upholding the circuit court’s dismissal of this action alleging that a child’s developmental delays were caused by a doctor’s negligence in the mother’s prenatal care and the child’s delivery. The Court held (1) the trial court erred in permitting Plaintiffs’ attorney to withdraw; (2) the mother did not engage in the unauthorized practice of law, and the trial court erred in striking the pleadings; (3) summary judgment was improper; and (4) “next friend” cannot proceed pro se on behalf of a real party in interest. View "Azmat v. Bauer" on Justia Law

by
KESA, the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Fund, on behalf of its insureds, filed five separate medical fee disputes against the Injured Workers’ Pharmacy (IWP) and the insureds’ employees and former employees, all of whom had their prescriptions filled by IWP. The chief administrative law judge (CALJ) found (1) a pharmacy/pharmacist is a medical provider, which entitles an injured worker to choose where to have his or her prescriptions filled; (2) the pharmacy fee schedule is based on the amount a pharmacist pays a wholesaler for medication, and IWP is entitled to interest on any underpayment by KESA; and (3) because KESA brought its medical fee disputes without reasonable ground and without reasonable medical or factual foundation, KESA was required to pay the cost of the proceedings. The Workers’ Compensation Board reversed the award of costs but otherwise affirmed. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded, holding (1) the court of appeals did not err regarding the assessment of interest and sanctions or in concluding that a pharmacy is a medical provider; but (2) the remainder of the court of appeals opinion is vacated and remanded because the CALJ did not make a determination regarding the actual average wholesale price paid by IWP. View "Steel Creations by and through KESA, the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Fund v. Injured Workers’ Pharmacy" on Justia Law

by
Dr. Benjamin Reid, a licensed general surgeon, filed a complaint against KentuckyOne Health, Inc. (“Hospital”) alleging various claims arising from the Hospital’s review of Reid’s surgical privileges at the Hospital. The circuit court granted the Hospital’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that Reid failed to rebut the presumption that the Hospital was immune under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 because the Hospital’s conduct with respect to Reid was related to its professional review activities. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Hospital had taken a “professional review action” against Reid rather than a “professional review activity.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a factual dispute existed as to whether the Hospital’s actions were merely “professional review activities” that would be entitled to immunity under the Act or whether they were “professional review actions,” and (2) therefore, the record was insufficient on the immunity question under the Act. View "KentuckyOne Health, Inc. v. Reid" on Justia Law