Anna Grizzle on Louisiana Wrongful Death Case for Modern Healthcare

January 29, 2010

Anna Grizzle, attorney at Bass, Berry & Sims, is quoted in Modern Healthcare regarding a Louisiana wrongful death case against a hospital where backup generators failed in the 2005 aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The article by Gregg Blesch, titled “Weighing the Cost of Disaster; Trial Could Raise Stakes for Emergency Planning,” appears in the January 25, 2010 edition.

From the article:

The case gained national attention in 2007 when the Louisiana Supreme Court decided the family could seek damages under general liability rather than limiting the lawsuit to the realm of medical malpractice, which in Louisiana would have capped damages at $500,000, with the hospital operator responsible for a fifth of that sum and the balance paid by the state Patient’s Compensation Fund, (Sept. 10, 2007, p. 12). “If you’re in a state with caps for malpractice cases, then a plaintiff may be looking for alternative theories that get them out from under those caps,” said Anna Grizzle, a member of the law firm Bass, Berry & Sims. “The idea has been planted,” she added. “The question is, will it ever take hold in a circumstance outside of Katrina?”

The case would be more likely to have a broad effect if the disaster involved were less extraordinary, Grizzle suggested. “Courts are often reticent to take a unique set of circumstances and to say, ‘We’re going to establish brand-new law here based on a once-in-a-lifetime event,’ ” Grizzle said.