Roers v. Engebretson, C7-91-878

CourtCourt of Appeals of Minnesota
Citation479 N.W.2d 422
Docket NumberNo. C7-91-878,C7-91-878
PartiesIrene ROERS, et al., Respondents, v. Paul ENGEBRETSON, M.D., et al., Appellants, Alexandria Radiology, Defendant.
Decision Date07 January 1992

Page 422

479 N.W.2d 422
Irene ROERS, et al., Respondents,
Paul ENGEBRETSON, M.D., et al., Appellants,
Alexandria Radiology, Defendant.
No. C7-91-878.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota.
Jan. 7, 1992.
Syllabus by the Court

1. Where the injured party is still living at time of trial, though death is foreseen to occur soon, recovery of damages by spouse for future loss of consortium may be had in a common law negligence action.

2. The wrongful death statute does not supersede a common law action for future damages where the injured party lives through trial, but dies shortly after.

3. Minnesota is within a majority of jurisdictions that measure future loss by pre-injury life expectancy.

4. Where spouse had a shorter life expectancy than injured party, damages for future loss of consortium are measured from time of verdict until spouse's death.

Terry L. Wade, Peter A. Schmit, Anne E. Workman, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, St. Paul, for respondents.

William M. Hart, Robert M. Frazee, Meagher & Geer, Minneapolis, for appellants.

Considered and decided by DAVIES, P.J., and PETERSON, and FOLEY, JJ.



This appeal arises from a common law negligence lawsuit where the injured party was not expected to live long after the trial. Appellants Paul Engebretson, M.D. and Alexandria Clinic, P.A. challenge recovery by respondent Daryl Roers, the spouse of the injured party, Irene Roers, for the portion of future loss of consortium damages resulting from the shortening of Mrs. Roers' life expectancy by the injury. Mr. Roers has noticed review of the jury's finding that Mrs. Roers was 30% contributorily negligent. We affirm.


In May 1987, Mrs. Roers went to Dr. Engebretson at the clinic because she had

Page 423

found a lump in her breast through self-examination. On referral by Dr. Engebretson, Alexandria Radiology gave Mrs. Roers her third mammogram in four years. Dr. Engebretson did not recommend treatment at that time. It was disputed at trial whether Dr. Engebretson told Mrs. Roers to come back in six months for a follow-up examination.

Mrs. Roers returned to see Dr. Engebretson at the clinic in August 1988 because she thought the lump in her breast had grown. Dr. Engebretson diagnosed breast cancer. Mrs. Roers underwent mastectomies, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Subsequently, it was determined her cancer was incurable.

On May 21, 1990, the Roers sued Dr. Engebretson, the clinic and Alexandria Radiology. On December 18, 1990, the trial court granted the Roers' motion to accelerate the trial because Mrs. Roers was not expected to live more than a few months longer.

Alexandria Radiology settled with the Roerses prior to the jury trial. The jury awarded Mrs. Roers past general damages of $75,000 and future general damages of $100,000. The jury awarded Mr. Roers past loss of consortium damages of $25,000 and future loss of consortium damages of $330,000. The jury apportioned 40% fault to Dr. Engebretson and the clinic, 30% fault to Alexandria Radiology and 30% fault to Mrs. Roers.

The trial court later denied motions of Dr. Engebretson and the clinic for a new trial on the issue of future loss of consortium and motions of the Roerses for judgment notwithstanding the verdict...

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5 cases
  • George Washington University v. Waas, 92-CV-985.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • September 19, 1994
    ...dereliction has significantly contributed to the injury for which he or she sues."5 Id. at 182-83; see generally Roers v. Engebretson, 479 N.W.2d 422, 424 (Minn.Ct.App.1992) ("The jury heard competent expert testimony from which it could conclude that Mrs. Roers' nine-month delay in returni......
  • Estrada v. Mercy Hosp., Inc., 3D12–1529.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 10, 2013
    ...F.Supp. at 426;Burke v. United States, 605 F.Supp. 981 (D.Md.1985); Morrison v. State, 516 P.2d 402 (Alaska 1973); Roers v. Engebretson, 479 N.W.2d 422 (Minn.Ct.App.1992); Hall v. Rodricks, 340 N.J.Super. 264, 774 A.2d 551 (App.Div.2001); Doe v. State of New York, 189 A.D.2d 199, 595 N.Y.S.......
  • Cavens v. Zaberdac, 45A03-0312-CV-516.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 20, 2005
    ...N.E.2d at 361; Taylor, 772 So.2d at 695; Magee v. Pittman, 761 So.2d 731, 737-38 (La.Ct.App.2000), writ. denied; Roers v. Engebretson, 479 N.W.2d 422, 424 (Minn.Ct.App.1992); Eoff v. Hal & Charlie Peterson Foundation, 811 S.W.2d 187, 191 (Tex.App.1991); Harding v. Bell, 57 P.3d 1093, 1098 (......
  • Hoffart v. Hodge, A-95-1328
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Nebraska
    • July 1, 1997
    ...the jury could determine that the woman's negligence in failing to return was a proximate cause of her death. In Roers v. Engebretson, 479 N.W.2d 422 (Minn.App.1992), an expert testified to facts which allowed the jury to conclude [5 Neb.App. 851] that the woman's 9-month delay in returning......
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