Wisconsin SC reverses bystander's award for emotional distress

side note: WISCONSIN DOES NOT ALLOW DAMAGES FOR WITNESSING MALPRACTICE: The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed a bystander’s medical malpractice award for emotional distress, ruling that the state’s medical malpractice law does not allow bystanders to seek damages for emotional distress. The high court’s 5-2 decision tossed out a lower court’s $200,000 award to a father who watched one of his twin sons die during birth in 1998. The justices noted that the state medical malpractice law makes no mention of allowing for emotional distress claims by bystanders.

LegalNewsLine.com
by Chris Rizo

MADISON, Wis. The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the state’s medical malpractice law does not allow bystanders to seek damages for emotional distress.

The high court’s 5-2 decision tossed out a lower court’s $200,000 award to a father who watched one of his twin sons die during birth in 1998.

A trial, Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge John Franke in 2003 awarded Gregory Phelps of Pewaukee, Wis., the damages as part of a $990,000 wrongful death and medical malpractice case his family won.

Phelps’s wife was being treated at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Milwaukee by an unlicensed resident physician. The other twin, Kyle, survived.

Gregory and Marlene, along with their two surviving children, Kyle and Caroline, sued Dr. Matthew Lindemann and his insurer, Physician’s Insurance Company of Wisconsin, St. Joseph’s, St. Joseph’s insurer, and the Affiliated Hospitals entity, alleging negligence, loss of society and companionship, wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Court papers say that the couple’s baby was pronounced dead as a result of asphyxia.

In the majority opinion, Justice Patience Roggensack said the medical resident, who was in a Medical College of Wisconsin training program, was acting as an employee of the hospital and was therefore covered by the malpractice law.

read the rest of the article at LegalNewLine.com

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