Horvitz & Levy consulted on and edited a hospital’s successful summary judgment motion in the trial court, then successfully defended the judgment on appeal.
Plaintiff Michael Franklin claimed that Dr. John Park had negligently injured him during back surgery at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Franklin sued Dr. Park and the hospital for medical malpractice, eventually settling with the doctor for the $1 million policy limit of his malpractice insurance. Franklin sought to hold the hospital responsible for Dr. Park’s alleged negligence based on theories of actual and ostensible agency.
With Horvitz & Levy’s assistance, the hospital moved for summary judgment, arguing that uncontradicted evidence disproved Franklin’s actual and ostensible agency theories. The motion was granted and Horvitz & Levy then defended the hospital against Franklin’s appeal. In addition to preparing a respondent’s brief and presenting oral argument, Horvitz & Levy also successfully secured publication of a favorable opinion in an unrelated case to bolster its arguments.
The Court of Appeal agreed with Horvitz & Levy’s arguments and affirmed the summary judgment in a published opinion. Specifically, the court rejected Franklin’s actual agency arguments because there was no evidence that the hospital controlled the manner in which Dr. Park practiced medicine or treated Franklin. The court also rejected Franklin’s ostensible agency arguments because it was undisputed that Franklin chose Dr. Park to perform the surgery and because the hospital’s website, articles, and press releases about Dr. Park, and the location of Dr. Park’s medical office near the hospital, did not establish ostensible agency as a matter of law. The Court of Appeal favorably cited the opinion that Horvitz & Levy had asked to be published, along with other authorities discussed in its appellate briefing.