Christopher M. Daddino and Myriah F. Conaughty Successfully Defend Hospital and Security Officer in a Negligence Case
January 31, 2018
Plaintiff’s decedent, a 28-year-old male, was brought to the Hospital’s ED by paramedics after being struck in the head with a bottle during a bar fight. He was placed in a triage room for assessment of his multiple head lacerations. Nursing staff assessed Decedent and found that the bleeding was controlled and noted Decedent had been drinking. Decedent was advised that a physician’s clearance was needed prior to removing the cervical collar. Less than ten minutes later and before a physician had an opportunity to assess Decedent; he exited the room, walked past the nurse, and turned towards the ED exit. The nurse alerted the nearby Security Officer that Decedent was intoxicated, had a head injury, and was not allowed to leave. The Security Officer asked Decedent to “stop” and requested that Decedent return to his room for assessment. Decedent ran out of the ED and towards the adjacent sidewalk with the Security Officer in pursuit, approximately five strides behind Decedent. All of the above was captured on security footage and admitted into evidence at the time of trial. What was not captured was the subject of the suit. Specifically, Decedent alleged that at the end of the pursuit, the Security Officer grabbed him by his shirt and brought him to the ground. The Security Officer denied ever touching Decedent. After the fall, Decedent was brought back into the Hospital and diagnosed with a left femur fracture, at which time his blood alcohol content was found to be .287. Decedent filed the suit claiming that the Hospital and Security Officer were negligent in pursuing, touching, and/or failing to protect Decedent. Decedent subsequently died of unrelated causes and a party-plaintiff was substituted. Plaintiff was barred from claiming medical bills and lost wages pursuant to Defendants’ pre-trial motions, but requested $400,000 in pain and suffering and loss of a normal life during closing arguments. This matter was tried as a bench trial before Honorable Judge James McCarthy, who found in favor of the Hospital and the Security Officer on all Counts.