Patrick G. Vipond

Mary C. Mikuls

Partner Patrick G. Vipond and Associate Mary C. Mikuls recently obtained a successful summary judgment for a hospital client, having the case against the client dismissed. In addition to a claim for medical malpractice, this success also came in an action under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (“EMTALA”). Also referred to as the “anti-dumping” law, EMTALA is a federal statute requiring emergency medical providers to appropriately screen, stabilize, transfer, and discharge patients. Under EMTALA, hospitals with emergency departments are subject to civil liability to any individual who suffers personal harm as a direct result of a violation of the statute.

In this action, the plaintiffs argued that expert testimony was not required to establish EMTALA liability and relied solely on conclusions from the DHHS Summary Statement of Deficiencies to allege that the hospital did not follow its own EMTALA policy. Mr. Vipond and Ms. Mikuls successfully argued that the case should be dismissed because plaintiffs failed to establish through expert testimony that their damages were proximately caused by the alleged violation of EMTALA.