Attorney Jacob Malatesta obtains summary judgment in Hinds County Court

HAT attorney Jacob Malatesta obtained a summary judgment in Hinds County Court on Dec. 3, 2021, from Judge Adrienne H. Wooten in favor of a longtime HAT client.

The plaintiff alleged that she was improperly positioned at the defendant hospital during a 2019 surgery. Plaintiff alleged this improper positioning caused a torn rotator cuff. There was no dispute that the plaintiff had no shoulder problems before the surgery and a torn rotator cuff was discovered soon after the surgery. Nevertheless, there was a lot of dispute about what could have caused the torn rotator cuff. HAT’s client openly participated in discovery, denying the entire time that there was evidence of any breach of the standard of care. As time went on, the plaintiff continually requested extensions in order to designate their expert. After more than a year of discovery extensions, Malatesta filed a motion for summary judgment, correctly guessing that there was, in fact, no expert.

At the hearing, the plaintiff admitted that there was no expert. Plaintiff argued that the case should be decided pursuant to the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur – the principle that the occurrence of an accident implies negligence. The court disagreed and granted summary judgment in favor of the hospital.

“It’s pretty astounding that the plaintiff filed a complaint averring that they had consulted with an expert, then requested several extension of time based on the need to obtain facts to provide to their expert, only to finally admit that there was no expert, and they could not prove their case,” Malatesta said. “This was a great result for our client and all the physicians and nurses involved in the care.”