Appellant health care providers sought review

Appellant health care providers sought review

Appellant health care providers sought review of a judgment from the Superior Court of San Diego County (California), entered after a jury returned a verdict in favor of respondent in her action for breach of contract, detrimental reliance, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and medical nonfeasance.

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Overview

Appellant plastic surgeon was in the process of moving his practice to California. Respondent approached appellant about performing reconstructive plastic surgery on appellant after she had undergone a mastectomy. Respondent informed appellant that the surgery needed to be completed by a certain date or that there would be insurance coverage. Appellant agreed to perform the surgery, but was unable to perform the surgery on the agreed day because of problems he was having obtaining surgical privileges at the hospital where the surgery was to be performed. Respondent sued appellant plastic surgeon and appellant hospital for breach of contract, detrimental reliance, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and medical nonfeasance. The jury returned a verdict for respondent. On appeal, the court reversed the judgment, holding that jury improperly awarded damages for emotional distress when there was no evidence that appellant plastic surgeon acted below the standard of care for plastic surgeons or that he acted in an intentional or outrageous manner. The case was remanded for determination of respondent’s damages for breach of contract.

Outcome

The court reversed the judgment and remanded the case for the trial court to determine the amount of respondent’s breach of contract damages, holding that there was no evidence appellant plastic surgeon acted below the standard of care for plastic surgeons or that he acted in an intentional or outrageous manner.