MFM Successfully Defends Hospital

DRI members James A. Martin, Jr., Brian J. Aungst, Jr., and Nancy S. Paikoff of Macfarlane, Ferguson & McMullen in Clearwater, Florida successfully defended a hospital against claims of failure to warn, negligence, and statutory violations of the involuntary commitment law in Florida that was brought by the estate of a young woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend seven days after he was discharged from the psychiatric unit of the hospital.

The trial court dismissed the Second Amended Complaint with prejudice on the basis that there was no precedent in Florida for Plaintiff’s theory of recovery; that the Estate did not have standing to bring a claim for violation of the involuntary commitment statute; Florida did not recognize a common law “duty to warn” unrelated third parties; and the duty that arises based on a R2d Torts §319 (special relationship) did not apply to the facts of the case.

The Plaintiff appealed to the Second District Court of Appeal which, after oral argument, affirmed the dismissal with prejudice without an opinion. The Plaintiff then sought a rehearing, rehearing en banc, certification of questions, and an opinion. The Second DCA denied the request.