The Connecticut Court of Appeals sided with UConn Health’s John Dempsey Hospital last week, finding the trial court ”broadly construed” that the plaintiff’s initial notice to sue in his individual capacity did not include permission to sue on behalf of a decedent’s estate…law.com, Appellate Court Sides With UConn Hospital in Wrongful Death Suit, Citing Improper Notice? May 2022
The plaintiff, Glenn Gilman, took the steps to file a notice with the Office of Claims Commissioners to sue the state and Dr. Brian Shames, a physician at the University of Connecticut Health Center, in an initial lawsuit in 2017 for bystander emotional distress.
Gilman sought damages for emotional distress and loss of consortium following the death of his fiancee, Lisa Gail Wenig. Wenig suffered Crohn’s disease and was not adequately evaluated by Shames or the hospital for cancer until it was discovered that she had metastatic adenocarcinoma with mucinous and signet ring cell feature less than a month before her death in October 2015, according to Gilman’s complaint, which was filed on his own behalf.
That action was ultimately dismissed by the trial court, which found Gilman’s claim was barred by sovereign immunity. In the plaintiff’s appeal to the appellate court, the court held that the plaintiff’s claim for bystander emotional distress was a “derivative claim” that “can be compensable only if it flows from the bodily injury of another person,” as held by the Connecticut Supreme Court’s 1999 decision in Jacoby v. Brinkerhoff.