Justia Health Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Oklahoma Supreme Court
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In 2011, the Oklahoma Legislature enacted H.B. 1970, prohibiting the off-label use of Mifeprex (generally known as "mifepristone" or "RU-486") and misoprostol (brand name Cytotec) for use in abortions. The effect of H.B. 1970 was to ban medication abortions in Oklahoma. In the first pronouncement ("Cline I"), the Oklahoma Supreme Court, following "Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey," (505 U.S. 833 (1992)), affirmed the district court's decision that H.B. 1970 was unconstitutional. Appellees then filed a petition for certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition and certified two questions to the Oklahoma Supreme Court: whether H.B. 1970 prohibited "(1) the use of misoprostol to induce abortions, including the use of misoprostol in conjunction with mifepristone according to a protocol approved by the Food and Drug Administration; and (2) the use of methotrexate to treat ectopic pregnancies." In "Cline II," the Oklahoma Court answered both questions affirmatively. The U.S. Supreme Court then dismissed the petition for certiorari as improvidently granted. In 2014, in response to the Cline II decision, the Oklahoma Legislature passed H.B. 2684, amending Title 63, Section 1-729a of the Oklahoma Statutes. H.B. 2684 was approved by the Governor and became effective on November 1, 2014. The Bill restricted Mifeprex and misoprostol use for abortions to the FDA-approved final Mifeprex label, prohibits methotrexate use for abortions except to terminate ectopic pregnancies, provides for liability of physicians who knowingly or recklessly perform an abortion in violation of H.B. 2684, and makes doctors subject to discipline and liability for violating H.B. 2684. Plaintiffs the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice and Nova Health Systems filed this challenge to H.B. 2684's restriction of off-label use of Mifeprex in the district court against the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health and the Executive Director of the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision (State). While this case was pending before the district court, the Oklahoma Supreme Court enjoined enforcement of H.B. 2684 until its constitutionality "is fully and finally litigated." The dispositive question presented was whether H.B. 2684, violated either of two sections of the Oklahoma Constitution: Article V, Section I or Article V, Section 59. The Court answered in the negative. View "Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Juctice v. Cline" on Justia Law

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The issue on appeal to the Supreme Court concerned medical malpractice claims that Plaintiff Bob Parris brought against the medical providers who were involved in his prostate cancer diagnosis, the surgery to remove it and his subsequent treatment. The trial court twice rendered judgment in favor of the defendants; the first trial court judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. On remand, Plaintiff had a jury trial on his claim against the pathologist who identified the cancerous cells. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the doctor. The remaining defendants sought and obtained summary judgments based on uncontroverted expert testimony they acted in accord with medical standards. Plaintiff's appeal of the judgment on the jury verdict in favor of the pathologist was dismissed as untimely, while Division III of the Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the summary judgments for all other defendants. Upon certiorari review, the Supreme Court found the appellate court properly affirmed the summary judgments except on Plaintiff's claim against the surgeon who continued post-surgical treatment of Plaintiff without disclosing the removed prostate showed no signs of cancer. View "Parris v. Limes" on Justia Law