Delgado v. Manor Care (6/20/17)

We blogged the Court of Appeals’ opinion here; go there for the facts.

We wondered “how the McGill factor survives this sort of analysis”; the answer is that it doesn’t. The Supreme Court “abolish[es] the four-part test for an actionable claim set forth in McGill.” “We hold that such a claim requires proof that: (1) a vulnerable adult, (2) has suffered an injury, (3) caused by abuse, (4) from a caregiver.” These are taken from the statute.

The point of McGill was to distinguish between vulnerable-adult claims and inpatient medical-malpractice claims. The court agrees that there is “considerable overlap” between the two but that’s because of the “broad language” of the statute. McGill added elements that aren’t in it.

The court doesn’t quite say that it was wrong to write McGill in the first place. That case “attempt[ed] to harmonize the statutory language and the legislature’s intent” – an intent, presumed by McGill itself, to distinguish between vulnerable-adult and medical malpractice, an intent this opinion means didn’t exist or at least wasn’t manifested: “If [emphasis added] the legislature wishes . . .  to [add] the requirements of the McGill test, it may do so.” But rather than say specifically that McGill presumed its own conclusion the court says that its test “has proved to be problematic” and “also has been difficult to apply.”

The Court of Appeals’ opinion is vacated; summary judgment reversed and remanded (as to the doctor, too; the court spends only a few sentences on that).

(Opinion: Delgado v. Manor Care)