Frank v. East Shoshone Hosp., No. 16648

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtBISTLINE; HUNTLEY, J., and TOWLES; SHEPARD; BAKES; HUNTLEY
Citation757 P.2d 1199,114 Idaho 480
Decision Date11 July 1988
Docket NumberNo. 16648
PartiesShirley M. FRANK and Henry Frank, husband and wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. EAST SHOSHONE HOSPITAL, Defendant, and Glenn C. Faith, M.D., jointly and individually, Defendant-Respondent.

Page 1199

757 P.2d 1199
114 Idaho 480
Shirley M. FRANK and Henry Frank, husband and wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
EAST SHOSHONE HOSPITAL, Defendant,
and
Glenn C. Faith, M.D., jointly and individually, Defendant-Respondent.
No. 16648.
Supreme Court of Idaho.
July 11, 1988.

Page 1200

[114 Idaho 481] Dennis W. Reynolds (argued), Spokane, Wash., and Charles M. Dodson, Coeur d'Alene, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Aherin & Rice PA, Lewiston, for defendant-respondent. Stephan C. Rice argued.

BISTLINE, Justice.

This is an appeal by plaintiffs-appellants Frank from a summary judgment in favor of defendant-respondent Faith in an action alleging medical malpractice. The district court granted summary judgment on the ground that plaintiffs' expert was not familiar with the local or community standard as mandated by I.C. § 6-1013(c). We affirm.

Plaintiffs alleged medical malpractice arising from the treatment Mrs. Frank received from Dr. Faith at the East Shoshone Hospital for a broken ankle. Dr. Faith moved for summary judgment, contending that plaintiffs' expert, Dr. Blaisdell, was not familiar with the standard of care in the region known as the Silver Valley in northern Idaho. The motion was granted. 1

Idaho Code § 6-1013(c) states that in any medical malpractice case, plaintiff "must" establish "that such expert witness possesses professional knowledge and expertise coupled with actual knowledge of the applicable said community standard to which his or her expert testimony is addressed" (emphasis added). 2 The deposition testimony of plaintiffs' expert, Dr. Blaisdell, however, fails to establish that Dr. Blaisdell was familiar with the local standard of care at the East Shoshone Hospital. The record provides:

Q. [By defendant's counsel] You haven't discussed the standard of care in particular with any doctors that practice in that area?

A. [By Dr. Blaisdell] No sir.

Q. Okay. You're not familiar with the emergency room procedures at the East Shoshone Hospital that were in effect in February of 1982 are you?

A. Not in any detail, no sir.

Deposition of Dr. Blaisdell, p. 61. Consequently, we agree with the trial court that as a matter of law plaintiffs' expert was not familiar with the applicable standard of care.

Page 1201

[114 Idaho 482] Our decision today does not cast an onerous burden on plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions. It is not an overly burdensome requirement to have an expert become familiar with the standard of care in the community where alleged malpractice is committed. In Buck v. St. Clair, 108 Idaho 743, 746, 702 P.2d 781, 784 (1985), the expert became familiar with the local standard of care by simply questioning a local doctor. 3 Furthermore, I.C. § 6-1013(c) provides that nothing shall prohibit a competent expert witness who resides elsewhere from adequately familiarizing him or herself with the applicable local standard of care. 4

Thus, because the requirement of I.C. § 6-1013(c) is not a crushing burden, we decline to judicially abrogate the legislature's decision to require that each and every malpractice expert be or become familiar with the local standard of care.

Affirmed. Costs to defendants.

HUNTLEY, J., and TOWLES, J., pro tem., concur.

SHEPARD, Chief Justice, concurring in result only.

I concur in the conclusion reached by the majority, i.e., that the summary judgment granted by the trial court should be affirmed. However, I emphatically disagree and dissent with the basis used by the majority to reach that result.

The majority quotes a few sentences from the deposition of Dr. Blaisdell (plaintiffs' expert medical witness), and concludes therefrom that the witness did not have knowledge of the standard of care in the Silver Valley, Kellogg, or the East Shoshone Hospital.

I agree that the issue presents a close question. However, given our standard for the issuance of summary judgment, i.e., that all the facts and legitimate inferences arising therefrom are to be construed most favorably toward the non-moving party, Anderson v. City of Pocatello, 112 Idaho 176, 731 P.2d 171 (1986); Anderson v. Ethington, 103 Idaho 658, 651 P.2d 923 (1982); Huyck v. Hecla Mining Co., 101 Idaho 299, 612 P.2d 142 (1980); I.R.C.P. 56(c), I am of the view that Dr. Blaisdell was marginally qualified to express his opinion as to a violation of the local standard of care. Dr. Blaisdell was asked: "Have you done any research or done anything to familiarize yourself with the standard of care in the Silver Valley, either Kellogg or the East Shoshone Hospital." He answered, "only indirectly," and then went on to explain that he had observed treatment of patients from that locality and was familiar with the treatment received in that particular area. His testimony then becomes somewhat confusing when he asserts that the standard of care in the Silver Valley region is, or should be, similar to a national standard.

It should be noted that the trial court, in his ruling on the motion for summary judgment, alluded to the fact that Blaisdell was a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and should not be heard to opine as to the standard of care rendered by a general or family practitioner. In his deposition, Dr. Blaisdell asserted that he had worked with and was familiar with the standard of care for a general or family practitioners.

Hence, I would hold that at the point of summary judgment, the knowledge of Dr. Blaisdell was sufficient to satisfy the local standard of care requirement contained in I.C. §...

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17 practice notes
  • Kozlowski v. Rush, No. 18718
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • March 20, 1992
    ...cases of Dekker v. Magic Valley Regional Medical Center, 115 Idaho 332, 334, 766 P.2d 1213, 1215 (1988); Frank v. East Shoshone Hosp., 114 Idaho 480, 481, 757 P.2d 1199, 1200 (1988); and Pearson v. Parsons, 114 Idaho 334, 337, 757 P.2d 197, 200 (1988), this Court held that the expert affida......
  • Dulaney v. St. Alphonsus, No. 26028.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • March 21, 2002
    ...constraints placed on the plaintiff's expert, noting that the requirements are not intended to be onerous. Frank v. East Shoshone Hosp., 114 Idaho 480, 482, 757 P.2d 1199, 1201 (1988) (noting, "Our decision today does not cast an onerous burden on plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions. ......
  • Fisk v. McDonald, Docket No. 46639
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 23, 2020
    ...of the community standard of care "is not intended to be an ‘overly burdensome requirement.’ " Id. (quoting Frank v. E. Shoshone Hosp., 114 Idaho 480, 482, 757 P.2d 1199, 1201 (1988) ). "Nor is the standard static and firmly rooted in past medical practices." Id. Rather, "[s]tandards of car......
  • Keyser v. Garner, No. 21454
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • July 17, 1996
    ...125 Idaho 341, 345, 870 P.2d 1300, 1304 (1994); Strode v. Lenzi, 116 Idaho 214, 775 P.2d 106 (1989); Frank v. East Shoshone Hospital, 114 Idaho 480, 757 P.2d 1199 (1988); Kunz v. Miciak, 118 Idaho 130, 131, 795 P.2d 24, 25 (Ct.App.1990). The focus in the present case is upon the method by w......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Kozlowski v. Rush, No. 18718
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • March 20, 1992
    ...cases of Dekker v. Magic Valley Regional Medical Center, 115 Idaho 332, 334, 766 P.2d 1213, 1215 (1988); Frank v. East Shoshone Hosp., 114 Idaho 480, 481, 757 P.2d 1199, 1200 (1988); and Pearson v. Parsons, 114 Idaho 334, 337, 757 P.2d 197, 200 (1988), this Court held that the expert affida......
  • Dulaney v. St. Alphonsus, No. 26028.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • March 21, 2002
    ...constraints placed on the plaintiff's expert, noting that the requirements are not intended to be onerous. Frank v. East Shoshone Hosp., 114 Idaho 480, 482, 757 P.2d 1199, 1201 (1988) (noting, "Our decision today does not cast an onerous burden on plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions. ......
  • Fisk v. McDonald, Docket No. 46639
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 23, 2020
    ...of the community standard of care "is not intended to be an ‘overly burdensome requirement.’ " Id. (quoting Frank v. E. Shoshone Hosp., 114 Idaho 480, 482, 757 P.2d 1199, 1201 (1988) ). "Nor is the standard static and firmly rooted in past medical practices." Id. Rather, "[s]tandards of car......
  • Keyser v. Garner, No. 21454
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • July 17, 1996
    ...125 Idaho 341, 345, 870 P.2d 1300, 1304 (1994); Strode v. Lenzi, 116 Idaho 214, 775 P.2d 106 (1989); Frank v. East Shoshone Hospital, 114 Idaho 480, 757 P.2d 1199 (1988); Kunz v. Miciak, 118 Idaho 130, 131, 795 P.2d 24, 25 (Ct.App.1990). The focus in the present case is upon the method by w......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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