The liability of certain parties may be a complicated issue in some Maryland medical malpractice cases. In an April 27, 2018 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland examined the question of whether a medical group was liable for the alleged negligence of an employee other than the physician-defendant. The jury in the case found that the physician was not negligent, but the medical group, through one of its agents, was negligent. The medical group filed the current appeal.
The plaintiff in the case was diagnosed with a retinal tear in his eye and needed surgery. When he suffered permanent vision loss after the operation, he brought suit against the eye clinic and the surgeon who operated on him. Under the Maryland Health Care Act, negligence requires a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, a violation of the standard of care that constitutes a breach of that duty, causation, and injury. In addition, the plaintiff must file a certificate of a qualified expert and report attesting to the defendant’s departure from the standard of care and causation of the alleged injury.
The case went to trial, at which the plaintiff’s medical expert testified that in his opinion, the surgeon violated the standard of care. When asked about the negligence of the eye clinic, the expert stated that if the surgeon was an employee of the eye clinic, it was his opinion that the eye clinic was also negligent. The jury found that the surgeon did not deviate from the standard of care. The jury further found that the agents and employees of the eye clinic were negligent and awarded $1,000,000 in damages to the plaintiff.