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Next Week at the Court

January 11, 2013

The Court will be holding one day of argument next week, on Wednesday at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens. The Court will hear two cases, only one of which is within the scope of our coverage.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 2:00 pm Special Sitting

S12G0552. SHEKHAWAT et al. v. JONES et al.

This case is a medical malpractice action against several doctors at the Medical College of Georgia. In 2003, a baby was transferred to MCG with a life-threatening condition. During surgery, the child had to be re-intubated on two occasions. Although the child survived the injury, he also suffered permanent disability, which the Jones allege was caused by lack of adequate oxygen during the intubation process. The doctors filed a motion for summary judgment that they were not liable because they were entitled to official immunity and the trial court granted summary judgment in their favor on that point.

The Court of Appeals (Miller, Ellington, Doyle) affirmed in part and reversed in part, finding that the doctors had not established that they were entitled to official immunity. While the doctors contended they were acting within the scope of their employment as MCG faculty, there was also evidence that the child was a private-pay patient, which could potentially remove official immunity. The Court of Appeals separately affirmed the trial court’s extension of qualified immunity to a resident who was also present. The doctors petitioned for certiorari.

On Monday, September 10, 2012, the Supreme Court granted the petition in a 6-1 vote (Hines, dissenting) to consider the following question:

  1. Did the Court of Appeals err in holding that Dr. Shekhawat and Dr. Matthews were not entitled to official immunity?

The case will be heard on January 16, 2013.

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