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Plaintiff, a physician licensed in Texas who worked part time at the Red Bluff Clinic in California, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violation of his Fourth Amendment rights when defendants, employees of the Texas Medical Board, executed an administrative subpoena instanter. The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal and rendered judgment for defendants. The court held that plaintiff failed to establish a cognizable interest in the subpoenaed records and thus he could not assert a Fourth Amendment claim. View "Barry v. Freshour" on Justia Law

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Licensed nurses may be disciplined if they engage in “unprofessional conduct.” The applicable Delaware statute did not define “unprofessional conduct,” so the Board of Nursing adopted a rule to flesh the term out. Two nurses who held supervisory roles at a correctional facility were disciplined by the Board under that rule after they participated in the retrieval of medication from a medical waste container for eventual administration to an inmate. The nurses appealed to the Superior Court, and the court set their discipline aside. The court read the Board’s rule to require not just proof that the nurses breached a nursing standard, but also proof that in doing so, they put the inmate or the public at risk. And in the court’s view, the State had not made that showing. Because the Board applied the correct standard and its decision was supported by substantial evidence, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed its decision and reversed the Superior Court. View "Delaware Board of Nursing v. Francis" on Justia Law

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In this civil case, the Supreme Court held that, for purposes of measuring fault under the doctrine of in pari delicto, only the conduct of senior management is imputed to the plaintiff organization. Plaintiff in this case was a college acting through its agents. At issue was whether courts in this case should follow the traditional principles of agency law and impute the wrongdoing of those agents to Plaintiff when determining whether it should be barred from recovery under the in pari delicto doctrine. The trial judge granted summary judgment to Defendant under the doctrine of in pari delicto after imputing to Plaintiff the wrongdoing of an employee who was not a member of senior management. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the summary judgment order, holding that where summary judgment was granted to Defendant on the sole ground that Plaintiff’s claims were barred under the in pari delicto doctrine, the case must be remanded for consideration of Defendant’s other grounds for summary judgment. View "Merrimack College v. KPMG LLP" on Justia Law

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At issue in this civil lawsuit was whether a stipulation to a discovery schedule that expressly waived the usual requirement that written reports be produced and exchanged summarizing the anticipated testimony of all expert witnesses designated to appear at trial continued when the district court entered a scheduling order that extended the deadline of identifying expert witnesses but said nothing about whether the stipulation to waive expert reports continued in effect or not. The Supreme Court held (1) the intent of the parties controlled the duration and scope of the stipulation; and (2) in the absence of any intention that the stipulation be deemed to have been superseded by the new order, the stipulation should be read to continue in effect until and unless expressly vacated either by the court or by a subsequent agreement between the parties. View "Dechambeau v. Balkenbush" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the holdings of the circuit court and court of appeals determining that public defenders, as employees of the Department of Public Advocacy (DPA), a statutorily-created agency of the Commonwealth, are entitled to assert the defense of qualified immunity within the proper context. After he was discharged from custody, Plaintiff filed a malpractice action against his former attorney, alleging that as a result of Defendants negligent advice regarding parole eligibility, Plaintiff had served longer in prison than he expected when entering his guilty plea. The circuit court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss, finding that Defendant was entitled to qualified official immunity from suit as an employee of the DPA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) public defenders performing discretionary tasks in good faith and within the scope of their employment are entitled to assert qualified immunity to any negligence claim; and (2) Defendant was entitled to the defense of qualified immunity under the circumstances of this case. View "Jacobi v. Holbert" on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Ohio Supreme Court centered on whether whether oil-and-gas land professionals, who help obtain oil-and-gas leases for oil-and-gas-development companies, must be licensed real-estate brokers when they engage in the activities described in R.C. 4735.01(A) with respect to oil-and-gas leases. Specifically, the Court addressed address whether R.C. 4735.21 precluded a person not a licensed real-estate broker from bringing a cause of action to recover compensation allegedly owed for negotiating oil-and-gas leases. The Court concluded the plain language of R.C. 4735.01 did not exclude oil-and-gas land professionals or oil-and-gas leases from the relevant definitions set forth in the statute; appellants Thomas Dundics and his company, IBIS Land Group, Ltd., engaged in activities that required a real-estate-broker’s license and were precluded from bringing a cause of action to recover compensation for those activities. View "Dundics v. Eric Petroleum Corp." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of a petition for writ of administrative mandate. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's decision to impose disciplinary restrictions on plaintiff's veterinary practice after finding he committed certain negligent and/or incompetent acts while treating four animal patients. Although plaintiff forfeited his contentions on appeal, the court nevertheless reviewed the evidence cited by the trial court to determine that substantial evidence supported the trial court's findings. View "Shenouda v. Veterinary Medical Board" on Justia Law

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Alaska’s medical peer review privilege statute protected discovery of data, information, proceedings, and records of medical peer review organizations, but it did not protect a witness’s personal knowledge and observations or materials originating outside the medical peer review process. A hospital invoked the privilege in two separate actions, one involving a wrongful death suit against a physician at the hospital and the other involving both a medical malpractice claim against the same physician and a negligent credentialing claim against the hospital. In each case the superior court compelled the hospital to disclose materials related to complaints submitted about the physician and to the hospital’s decision to grant the physician medical staff membership. The hospital and the doctor sought the Alaska Supreme Court's review of the discovery orders. Because the Supreme Court concluded these discovery orders compelled the hospital to disclose information protected by the peer review privilege, it reversed the discovery orders in part. Furthermore, the Court held that the false information exception to the privilege provided in AS 18.23.030(b) applied to actions for which the submission of false information was an element of the claim and thus did not apply here. View "Mat-Su Valley Medical Center, LLC v. Bolinder" on Justia Law

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Reynolds claimed that the law firm (H&L) gave bad advice that led him to violate federal disclosure laws when he drafted his LLCs’ financial statements. The district court granted H&L summary judgment, stating that Reynolds could not bring a malpractice suit on his own behalf because he did not have a personal attorney-client relationship with H&L. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Although H&L had an attorney-client relationship with the LLCs that Reynolds co-owned and managed, and it was in his capacity as a managing member of these LLCs that Reynolds communicated with, and was advised by, H&L, Illinois courts consistently have held that neither shared interests nor shared liability establish third-party liability. For third-party liability in Illinois, Reynolds must have been a direct and intended beneficiary; simply because the officers of a business entity were at risk of personal liability does not transform the incidental benefits of the law firm’s representation of the business entity into direct and intended benefits for the officers. View "Reynolds v. Henderson & Lyman" on Justia Law

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Belsen Getty, LLC, a registered investment adviser owned by Terry Deru, obtained a claims-made financial-services-liability policy (the Policy) from XL Specialty Insurance Company covering Belsen Getty and its advisers for the period for one year. Under the policy, XL had no duty to defend. During the policy period James, Jenalyn, and Wade Morden brought claims against Belsen Getty and Deru alleging improper and misleading investment advice. XL denied coverage, asserting the Mordens’ claims and claims brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before the policy period concerned “Interrelated Wrongful Acts,” as defined by the Policy, and that the Policy therefore required treating the two claims as one claim made before the policy period. Belsen Getty and Deru then settled with the Mordens, assigning their rights against XL; and the Mordens sued XL in federal district court, raising the assigned claims that XL breached its covenant of good faith and fair dealing and its fiduciary duties to Belsen Getty and Deru in denying coverage under the Policy. XL counterclaimed that the Policy’s Interrelated Wrongful Acts provision precluded coverage. The Mordens moved for partial summary judgment on the counterclaim and on several of XL's affirmative defenses. XL moved for summary judgment based on the policy and for failure to prove bad faith or breach of fiduciary duty. The district court denied XL's counterclaim, but granted summary judgment on the bad-faith and fiduciary-duty claims. The Mordens appealed summary judgment against them on their bad-faith and fiduciary-duty claims and on the denial of their motion to amend their complaint to add a breach-of-contract claim. XL cross-appealed the summary judgment against it on its counterclaim that the Policy’s Interrelated Wrongful Acts provision barred all the Mordens’ claims. The Tenth Circuit reversed the denial of XL’s motion for summary judgment on its counterclaim: this reversal undermined the Mordens’ challenges to the summary judgment against them and the denial of their motion to amend. The Court therefore affirmed summary judgment against the Mordens on their claims and the denial of their motion to amend. View "Morden v. XL Specialty Insurance" on Justia Law