Justia Health Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
Acuity v. Masters Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court concluding that Acuity, an insurer, did not owe Masters Pharmaceutical, Inc. a duty to defend it in the several lawsuits brought by cities and counties in three states (the governments) for losses caused by the opioid epidemic, holding that Acuity did not owe Masters a duty to defend.Cities and counties in West Virginia, Michigan, and Nevada brought the underlying lawsuits against Masters, a wholesale distributor of pharmaceutical products, including prescription opioids, alleging that Masters's conduct contributed to the opioid epidemic. Acuity filed an action for a declaratory judgment that it owed no duty to defend or indemnify Masters in the underlying suits. The trial court granted summary judgment for Acuity. The court of appeals reversed. At issue was whether the governments sought damages for their own economic losses and not "damages because of bodily injury." The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the governments did not seek "damages because of bodily injury"; and (2) therefore, Acuity did not owe Masters a duty to defend it in the underlying suits. View "Acuity v. Masters Pharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law
State v. Stutler
The Supreme Court held that a trial court lacks discretion to deny a request for a recommended change in the commitment conditions of a mentally ill person subject to court-ordered commitment to a mental health facility when the state has failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the change represents a threat to public safety or any person.Appellant was found not guilty by reason of insanity of murder, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse. The trial court ordered Appellant committed to a mental health facility. The chief clinical officer at the facility later filed a request with the trial court asking that Appellant be allowed to leave the facility to go on trips (Level IV community movement). The trial court denied the request, and the appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the appellate court erred in concluding that the trial court had discretion to deny the requested change in Appellant's commitment level even if the state failed to meet its burden of proof. View "State v. Stutler" on Justia Law
Stewart v. Solutions Community Counseling & Recovery Centers, Inc.
The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the denial by the court of common pleas of Appellants' motion to dismiss concluding that immunity from liability afforded to mental-health providers under Ohio Rev. Code 2305.51 did not apply in this case, holding that the trial court's order denying Appellants' motion to dismiss was not a final, appealable order, and therefore, the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction to issue its judgment.In overruling Appellants' motion to dismiss the trial court concluded that immunity from liability afforded to mental-health providers under section 2305.51 did not apply in this case. The court of appeals affirmed, rejecting Appellants' argument that the trial court erred in holding that Appellants were not entitled to statutory immunity under section 2305.51. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' judgment, holding that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction where the trial court's entry denying Appellants' motion to dismiss was not a final, appealable order. View "Stewart v. Solutions Community Counseling & Recovery Centers, Inc." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Ohio Stands Up!, Inc. v. DeWine
The Supreme Court granted the motion to dismiss this complaint brought by Relator, Ohio Stands Up!, Inc., seeking writs of prohibition and mandamus against Respondents, the Ohio Governor and the Director of the Office of Budget and Management, holding that Relator lacked standing to bring this original action.In its prayer for relief, Relator argued that the lottery entailing the expenditure of over $5 million to encourage Ohio residents to receive COVID-19 vaccinations was unconstitutional and discriminatory and sought to prevent Respondents from both spending the money on the lottery and from injecting the vaccines into Ohio's children. Respondents filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Relator lacked standing. The Supreme Court agreed and granted the motion, holding that Relator failed to establish that it had standing to seeking a writ of prohibition or writ of mandamus in this original action. View "State ex rel. Ohio Stands Up!, Inc. v. DeWine" on Justia Law
Menorah Park Center for Senior Living v. Rolston
In this case involving the interplay between the Health Insurance Portability and accountability Act (HIPPA), the subsequent HIPPA Privacy Rule, and Ohio's common-law cause of action for the unauthorized, unprivileged disclosure by a medical provider to a third party of nonpublic medical information recognized in Biddle v. Warrant General Hospital, 715 N.E.2d 518 (Ohio 1999), the Supreme Court held that the patient in this case failed to state a claim under Biddle.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) HIPAA does not preclude a claim under Biddle when the limited disclosure of medical information was part of a court filing made to obtain a past-due payment on an account for medical services; (2) there is an exception to liability under Biddle when a medical provider makes a reasonable effort to limit the disclosure of the patient's medical information to the minimum amount necessary to file a complaint for the recovery of unpaid medical services charges; and (3) the medical provider in this case properly limited its closure of information to the minimum amount necessary to assert a cause of action to recover from the patient payment for unpaid medical bills. View "Menorah Park Center for Senior Living v. Rolston" on Justia Law
Embassy Healthcare v. Bell
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Cora Sue Bell and concluding that Embassy Healthcare could pursue its claim against Cora individually under Ohio Rev. Code 3103.03, Ohio’s necessaries statute, and was not required to present its claim to the estate of her deceased husband, Robert Bell, holding that a creditor’s failure to present its claim for unpaid expenses to a decedent’s estate within the six-month statute of limitations in Ohio Rev. Code 2117.06 bars a later action against the decedent’s surviving spouse under section 3103.03.The court of appeals concluded that Embassy could pursue its claim for Robert’s unpaid nursing-facility expenses against Cora individually under section 3103.03 and was not required to present its claim first to Robert’s estate under section 2117.06. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that a creditor must present its claim for unpaid necessaries to the decedent’s estate under Ohio Rev. Code 2117.06 before it can pursue a claim individually against the surviving spouse under section 3103.03. View "Embassy Healthcare v. Bell" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Rohrer v. Holzapfel
Appellant was the defendant in a criminal case in which he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and found to be a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization by court order. In 2014, Appellant filed a motion asserting that the trial court lacked authority to order his original commitment. The trial court denied relief, and Appellant appealed. In 2015, Appellant filed a motion to terminate his involuntary confinement. The trial court stayed the action pending the outcome of Appellant’s appeal from the denial of the 2014 motion. Thereafter, Appellant filed a petition for writs of mandamus and procedendo requesting that the trial court judge be ordered either to grant or hold a hearing on the 2015 motion. The court of appeals ultimately affirmed the trial court’s denial of the 2014 motion. In 2016, the court of appeals dismissed Appellant’s petition for writs of mandamus and procedendo, concluding that the request for a writ of procedendo was moot and that the judge had not abused his discretion in issuing the stay. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the case was moot, and the the trial court did not err in failing to consider the 2015 motion earlier. View "State ex rel. Rohrer v. Holzapfel" on Justia Law
State v. Henton
Appellant filed a pleading in the court of appeals entitled “Eighth Admendment [sic] Violation” seeking an order compelling a county jail to send medical records pertaining to treatment he received while he was there to the correctional institution where he is currently incarcerated. The court of appeals construed Appellant’s pleading as a petition for a writ of mandamus and then dismissed his case for failing to follow procedural requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals did not err by dismissing Appellant’s mandamus petition because he failed to comply with the mandatory filing requirements of Ohio Rev. Code 2969.25. View "State v. Henton" on Justia Law
Griffith v. Aultman Hosp.
Appellant’s father (Decedent) died after receiving surgery at Aultman Hospital. Appellant requested a copy of Decedent’s complete medical record. The Hospital produced the medical record that existed in the medical-records department. Dissatisfied with the Hospital’s response, Appellant filed this action to compel the production of Decedent’s complete medical record. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Hospital, concluding that the Hospital had produced the requested medical record, as defined by Ohio Rev. Code 3701.74(A)(8). The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the term “medical record” as that term is used in Ohio Rev. Code 3701.74 does not include all patient data but consists only of information maintained by the medical-records department. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) data that was generated in the process of the patient’s healthcare treatment and that pertains to the patient’s medical history, diagnosis, prognosis, or medical condition qualifies as a “medical record”; but (2) “medical record” means any patient data “generated and maintained by a health care provider” without limitation as to the physical location or department where it is kept. Remanded. View "Griffith v. Aultman Hosp." on Justia Law
Cuyahoga County Bd. of Health v. Lipson O’Shea Legal Group
In 2012, a principal of Lipson O’Shea Legal Group made a request for records from Cuyahoga County Board of Health (Cuyahoga County BOH) seeking documentation of homes in the County where a minor child was found to have elevated blood lead levels. Cuyahoga County BOH sought a declaratory judgment with respect to its obligations to maintain the confidentiality of the records sought by Lipson O’Shea. The trial court granted summary judgment for Cuyahoga County BOH, concluding that the release of the records was prohibited by Ohio Rev. Code 3701.01, which exempts from disclosure certain health information if the information could be used to reveal the individual’s identity. The court of appeals reversed, declaring that, rather than withholding all records, Cuyahoga County BOH must examine each document, redact any protected health information, and release any remaining unprotected information not otherwise excepted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that some of the information in the requested records prepared by the Cuyahoga County BOH is not protected health information, and therefore, it cannot be said that all of the information responsive to the request is protected. View "Cuyahoga County Bd. of Health v. Lipson O'Shea Legal Group" on Justia Law