Liability: Settlement Agreement and Dismissal "with Prejudice" Did Not Bar Independent Claims against Hospital, Arizona High Court Rules

September 19, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​The terms of a settlement agreement between plaintiffs and a surgeon and a trial court's subsequent dismissal "with prejudice" of certain claims against the hospital where the surgery was performed do not bar the plaintiffs from asserting claims of independent negligence against the hospital, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled. The ruling has legal and risk management significance because a "dismissal with prejudice" operates as a final judgment that bars the plaintiff from taking another legal action against the defendant on the same claim.

The lawsuit was brought by three people who underwent bariatric surgery by the same surgeon at the same Arizona hospital. They sued the surgeon, his professional practice, and the hospital and its corporate owner ("the hospital defendants") for negligence after they experienced complications of surgery. The cases were consolidated for discovery. The plaintiffs alleged that the physician was negligent in his surgical care and that the hospital defendants were vicariously liable for...

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