Thursday, April 15, 2004

Judge Jones takes on the captain of the ship doctrine

In Blevins v. Shesadri, Judge Jones of the W.D. Va. in a published opinion denied summary judgment on the issue of whether the defendant surgeon against who there was no evidence of direct negligence could nevertheless be liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior for the negligence of the nurse anesthetist.

It seems like not too long ago I read some article (see "'Negligent' receptionist tags doctors with liability," Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2/5/01) about a case in Northern Virginia where the doctor group was held liable for the negligence of its receptionist, which outcome agitated me so much I e-mailed it to the lawyer in Pennsylvania for whom I wrote a memo about the captain of the ship doctrine in the summer of 1988, with a note that said, in effect, just as old generals fight the last war, old law clerks are still rewriting their very first research projects.

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