MS: State Univ. Med. Prof.'s Dual Capacity in OR: Does State Employee Immunity Apply to Professor?CASE FACTS: On May 30, 1993, John Conley was injured in automobile accident Ask a Lawyer
Country: United States of America
Say you're at a red light in a left hand turning lane and the light turns green so you let up slightly on the break antedating moving forward and the vehicle and transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC) is the health sciences campus of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). Located in Jackson, Mississippi (USA), it houses the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Health Related Professions, and Graduate Studies in the Health . The day after the accident, Dr. Edward Warren, a cardiovascular surgeon on staff, performed an operation to repair patient's thoracic aorta, After the accident but prior to the May 31 surgery, the patient could move his legs; however, after the surgery, he was paralyzed par·a·lyze
tr.v. par·a·lyzed, par·a·lyz·ing, par·a·lyz·es
1. To affect with paralysis; cause to be paralytic.
2. To make unable to move or act: paralyzed by fear. form the waist down. The patient brought suit for medical malpractice against Dr. Warren in the Circuit Court alleging that Dr. Warren was guilty of medical malpractice in performing the surgery. Dr. Warren filed a motion for summary judgment motion for summary judgment n. a written request for a judgment in the moving party's favor before a lawsuit goes to trial and based on recorded (testimony outside court) affidavits (or declarations under penalty of perjury), depositions, admissions of fact, answers on the grounds that the patient failed to comply with the notice provisions of state law. The trial court granted Dr. Warren's motion for summary judgment on the grounds that he was a "state employee," not an independent contractor, and was, therefore, immune under the state's Tort Claims Act tort claims act n. a federal or state act which, under certain conditions, waives governmental immunity and allows lawsuits by people who claim they have been harmed by torts (wrongful acts), including negligence, by government agencies or their employees. .
COURT'S OPINION: The Supreme Court of Mississippi The Supreme Court of Mississippi is the highest court in the state of Mississippi. It was created in the first constitution of the state following its admission as a State of the Union in 1817. Initially it was known as the "High Court of Errors and Appeals. reversed the judgment of the lower court and remanded the case for the further proceedings. The court held, inter alia, that the specific issue to be determined was whether faculty physicians at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC UMMC University of Maryland Medical Center
UMMC University of Michigan Medical Center
UMMC Unspecified Minor Military Construction ) who engage in clinical outpatient practice under the general auspices of the university for which they are compensated are state employees acting within the course and scope of their employment for the purposes of the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA MTCA Model Toxics Control Act
MTCA Medium Term Conflict Alert (air traffic management)
MTCA Minimum Terrain Clearance Altitude ). The court found that "the traditional scope of employment analysis failed to provide sufficient guidance to the court on this issue." The court noted that the Virginia Supreme Court had examined the issue of whether faculty physicians employed by a state university were protected by sovereign immunity for acts of simple negligence. That court developed a four-part test to determine the status of these hybrid physicians. The following criteria were established: 1. The nature of the function performed by the employee; 2. The extent of the state's interest and involvement in the function; 3. The degree of control and direction exercised by the state over the employee, and 4. Whether the act complained of involved the use of judgment and discretion. In adopting this Virginia test, the court was felt compelled to add one further criterion to the list, The court noted that the trial court properly determined that there was no genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Dr. Warren was serving in a dual capacity in the operating room -- one as a teacher and one-as an attending physician. Conley v. Warren, 2001 WL 126406 So.2d -- MS