Senesac v. Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology, No. 235-80

Docket NºNo. 235-80
Citation449 A.2d 900, 141 Vt. 310
Case DateJune 08, 1982
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Vermont

Page 900

449 A.2d 900
141 Vt. 310
Joseph and Mary SENESAC
v.
ASSOCIATES IN OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY and Mary Jane Gray, M.D.
No. 235-80.
Supreme Court of Vermont.
June 8, 1982.

Page 901

[141 Vt. 311] Edwin W. Free, Jr., of Richard E. Davis Associates, Inc., Barre, for plaintiff.

[141 Vt. 312] William H. Quinn of Pierson, Affolter & Wadhams, Burlington, for defendants.

Before [141 Vt. 310] BARNEY, C. J., and BILLINGS, HILL, UNDERWOOD and PECK, JJ.

[141 Vt. 312] PECK, Justice.

In June 1973, plaintiff Mary Senesac underwent a therapeutic abortion, performed by defendant Mary Jane Gray, M.D., at the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont in Burlington. 1 During the course of the operation plaintiff's uterus was perforated, necessitating an emergency hysterectomy.

Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Chittenden Superior Court, alleging that Dr. Gray negligently performed the abortion procedure. She also claimed that Dr. Gray failed to inform her of the risks inherent in the operation. In addition, plaintiff sought damages from defendant Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Associates), of which Dr. Gray was a member, on the theory of respondeat superior.

Page 902

The case was tried before a jury. At the close of the plaintiff's evidence the trial court granted defendants' motion for directed verdict as to the surgical negligence claim. Before the claim based on lack of informed consent was submitted to the jury, plaintiff was granted permission to dismiss with prejudice the action against Dr. Gray. The jury then returned a verdict in favor of defendant Associates as to the informed consent count. Plaintiff appeals, claiming error in the granting of the defendants' motion for a directed verdict.

In passing on the propriety of the granting of a motion for a directed verdict, V.R.C.P. 50(a), we must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, excluding any modifying evidence. A. G. Ryan v. Old Fox Chemical Co., 139 Vt. 259, 260, 427 A.2d 371, 372 (1981); South Burlington School District v. Calcagni-Frazier-Zajchowski Architects, Inc., 138 Vt. 33, 40, 410 A.2d 1359, 1362 (1980). If there was any evidence fairly and reasonably supporting plaintiff's claim, the case should have gone to the jury and the directed verdict was improper. Board of Medical Practice v. Perry-Hooker, 139 Vt. 264, 267, 427 A.2d 1334, 1335 (1981); Condosta v. Condosta, 137 Vt. 35, 38, 401 A.2d 897, 899 (1979).

[141 Vt. 313] The burden is on the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action to prove both that the defendant physician was negligent and that the plaintiff's injuries were proximately caused by that negligent conduct. Macey v. James, 139 Vt. 270, 271, 427 A.2d 803, 804 (1981); LaRocque v. LaMarche, 130 Vt. 311, 313, 292 A.2d 259, 261 (1972); Largess v. Tatem, 130 Vt. 271, 277-79, 291 A.2d 398, 402-03 (1972). Normally this burden is only satisfied when the plaintiff produces expert medical testimony setting forth: (1) the proper standard of medical skill and care; (2) that the defendant's conduct departed from that standard; and (3) that this conduct was the proximate cause of...

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49 practice notes
  • Soutiere v. Betzdearborn, Inc., No. CIV.A. 299CV299.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. District of Vermont
    • 29 Enero 2002
    ...the issue should go to the jury. Lillicrap, 156 Vt. at 173, 591 A.2d at 45 (quoting Senesac v. Assocs. in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 141 Vt. 310, 312, 449 A.2d 900, 902 (1982)). Soutiere has pointed to evidence from which a reasonable factfinder could conclude that he did not know, nor sh......
  • Lillicrap v. Martin, No. 86-443
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 14 Julio 1989
    ...the case should [go] to the jury and [a] directed verdict [is] improper." Senesac v. Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 141 Vt. 310, 312, 449 A.2d 900, 902 These rules reflect the law's recognition that such questions are "to be determined in all doubtful cases by the jury......
  • Madden v. Abate, Case No. 2:09–cv–145.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. District of Vermont
    • 6 Julio 2011
    ...doctor's own testimony establishes the standard of care and departure from it.’ ” Senesac v. Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 141 Vt. 310, 449 A.2d 900, 903 (1982) (quoting Hill v. Squibb & Sons, E.R., 181 Mont. 199, 592 P.2d 1383, 1389 (1979)). 4. In her opposition to this mo......
  • McClellan v. Haddock, No. 16–071
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 3 Marzo 2017
    ...and that decedent's injuries were proximately caused by that negligent conduct. See Senesac v. Assocs. in Obstetrics & Gynecology , 141 Vt. 310, 313, 449 A.2d 900, 902 (1982) (setting forth elements of medical malpractice action). The facts as alleged in the complaint are sufficient to ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
49 cases
  • Soutiere v. Betzdearborn, Inc., No. CIV.A. 299CV299.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. District of Vermont
    • 29 Enero 2002
    ...the issue should go to the jury. Lillicrap, 156 Vt. at 173, 591 A.2d at 45 (quoting Senesac v. Assocs. in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 141 Vt. 310, 312, 449 A.2d 900, 902 (1982)). Soutiere has pointed to evidence from which a reasonable factfinder could conclude that he did not know, nor sh......
  • Lillicrap v. Martin, No. 86-443
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 14 Julio 1989
    ...the case should [go] to the jury and [a] directed verdict [is] improper." Senesac v. Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 141 Vt. 310, 312, 449 A.2d 900, 902 These rules reflect the law's recognition that such questions are "to be determined in all doubtful cases by the jury......
  • Madden v. Abate, Case No. 2:09–cv–145.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. District of Vermont
    • 6 Julio 2011
    ...doctor's own testimony establishes the standard of care and departure from it.’ ” Senesac v. Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 141 Vt. 310, 449 A.2d 900, 903 (1982) (quoting Hill v. Squibb & Sons, E.R., 181 Mont. 199, 592 P.2d 1383, 1389 (1979)). 4. In her opposition to this mo......
  • McClellan v. Haddock, No. 16–071
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 3 Marzo 2017
    ...and that decedent's injuries were proximately caused by that negligent conduct. See Senesac v. Assocs. in Obstetrics & Gynecology , 141 Vt. 310, 313, 449 A.2d 900, 902 (1982) (setting forth elements of medical malpractice action). The facts as alleged in the complaint are sufficient to ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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