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154476 - Audrey Trowell v Providence Hosp & Med Centers

Audrey Trowell,
Mark Granzotto
Carla D. Aikens
Jules B. Olsman
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Oakland – O’Brien, C.)
Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Inc.,
Rhonda Y. Reid Williams


Plaintiff Audrey Trowell filed a complaint for “medical negligence,” claiming that when she was a patient in defendant Providence Hospital ICU a nurse dropped her twice while assisting her to the bathroom. Defendant moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.119(C)(7) and (C)(8), arguing that the factual allegations in the complaint made out a claim of medical malpractice, and that plaintiff failed to comply with the necessary procedural requirements. In response, plaintiff argued that her claim was one for ordinary negligence. The trial court ruled that the complaint was one for medical malpractice and granted defendant’s motion. The trial court later denied plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint and motion for reconsideration. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals considered Bryant v Oakpointe Villa Nursing Centre, Inc, 471 Mich 411, 422 (2004), which held that in determining whether the nature of a claim is ordinary negligence or medical malpractice, a court must answer two fundamental questions: “(1) whether the claim pertains to an action that occurred within the course of a professional relationship; and (2) whether the claim raises questions of medical judgment beyond the realm of common knowledge and experience.” The panel characterized plaintiff’s complaint as “fairly vague” but held that it could envision a situation in which plaintiff’s allegations did not raise questions of medical judgment and, therefore, the claim was one for ordinary negligence. The panel reversed the grant of summary disposition to defendant and remanded for further factual development. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on the application for leave to appeal to address whether plaintiff’s complaint alleged a claim of ordinary negligence or medical malpractice under Bryant.