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Larson v. Wasemiller

July 25, 2006

MARY LARSON, ET AL, RESPONDENTS,
v.
JAMES PRESTON WASEMILLER, M.D., APPELLANT (A05-1698), DEFENDANT (A05-1701),
PAUL SCOT WASEMILLER, M.D., ET AL., DEFENDANTS (A05-1698), ST. FRANCIS MEDICAL CENTER, APPELLANT (A05-1701).



Wilkin County District Court File No. C603293.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Minnesota does not recognize a common-law cause of action for negligent credentialing or privileging of a physician against a hospital or other review organization.

2. Minn. Stat. §§ 145.63-.64 do not explicitly grant immunity to a hospital or other review organization from liability for a claim of negligent credentialing or privileging of a physician. But the statutes limit liability to actions or recommendations not made in the reasonable belief that the action or recommendation is warranted by facts known to the review organization after reasonable efforts to ascertain the facts on which the review organization's action or recommendation is made and limit evidence to support or defend against such claims to information available from original sources.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stoneburner, Judge

Reversed and remanded; Certified questions answered

Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Dietzen, Judge; and Harten, Judge.*fn1

OPINION

Respondents brought a medical-malpractice action against appellant James Preston Wasemiller, M.D. and defendant Paul Scott Wasemiller, M.D. Respondents amended the complaint to add claims against appellant St. Francis Medical Center for negligent credentialing of Dr. James Wasemiller and negligence in a joint venture. St. Francis Medical Center moved to dismiss under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(e), arguing that (1) Minnesota does not recognize legal claims of "negligent credentialing" or "negligent privileging" against a hospital; (2) Minn. Stat. § 145.63, subd. 1, limits liability for review organizations; (3) the peer-review privilege, as codified in Minn. Stat. § 145.63, impliedly rejects such claims against hospitals; and (4) respondents have failed to state a claim against the hospital for liability based on joint enterprise with Dr. James Wasemiller*fn2 . The district court denied the motion but certified two questions to this court:

1. Does the state of Minnesota recognize a common-law cause of action of negligent credentialing or privileging of a physician against a hospital or other review organization?

The district court answered in the affirmative.

2. Do Minn. Stat. §§ 145.63-.64 grant immunity from or otherwise limit liability of a hospital or other review organization for a claim of negligent credentialing or privileging of a physician?

The district court answered in the negative.

FACTS

We initially note that this matter was handled in the district court as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. We have not considered any facts beyond those stated in the pleadings.*fn3

Appellant James Preston Wasemiller, M.D. and defendant Paul Scot Wasemiller, M.D. are physicians licensed in Minnesota, who hold themselves out as surgery specialists. Appellant St. Francis Medical Center (the hospital) is a Minnesota corporation that granted Drs. James P. and Paul S. Wasemiller privileges to perform surgical procedures, including bariatric surgery, on patients. According to the compliant, Dr. James P. Wasemiller performed a gastric bypass and splenectomy on respondent Mary Larson, with the ...


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