Insurance Abuse Tactic Rejected by Texas Supreme Court
By James E. Girards
In an update to an earlier blog post about a common insurance company abuse tactic, as predicted the Texas Supreme court has rejected the challenge to the expert reports filed by the firm in the Washington v. Navarro Regional Hospital case. We had written before about the insurance industry tactic of seeking delay in every Texas medical malpractice case by challenging the expert reports no matter how extensive the reports are. The benefit to the defense is it delays cases, witnesses are lost, memories fade, and parties die all of which save the insurance companies a lot of money and deny justice to hundreds of deserving families every year. We highlighted this case because the injured patient, Donell Washington, was brain damaged by physicians and a hospital who failed to breath for him when he lost consciousness. The insurance company delay tactic actually cost Donnell his life because he was unable to get the quality medical care that a fair and just settlement would have provided him. Since the previous blog, the insurance company appealed as predicted to the Texas Supreme Court after both the trial judge and the Waco Court of Appeals rejected the insurance companies' challenge. You can read the insurance companies' request by clicking here. The Texas Supreme Court requested briefing on the issue. You can read our response by clicking here. The Texas Supreme Court rejected the challenge this week. You can read that document by clicking here. The saddest part is that there is no downside or penalty for the insurance company to mount a frivolous appeal such as this one. But, they got the benefit of a needless 17-month delay during which time Donell died.
So, final score: Suit was filed on July 13, 2012. The trial judge rejected insurance company challenge of expert reports on June 20, 2013. Donell died on December 3, 2013. Case was appealed to the Waco Court of Appeals, which challenge was rejected by that court on May 18, 2014. Case was then appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, which challenge was rejected by that court on November 21, 2014.
This case is a textbook example of insurance company abuse of deserving patients in Texas. If you'd like to help, please contact your legislators and ask them to end this procedural tactic that is unfair to injured patients. You can find your legislator by clicking here.
For more information or help on any medical malpractice case in Texas, Oklahoma, or Arkansas, contact the Girards Law Firm at one of our offices:
10000 N Central, Suite 400
Dallas, TX 75231
609 SW 8th Street, Suite 600
Bentonville, AR 72712
Phone: (501) 288-9529
1831 E 71st Street
Tulsa, OK 74136