Recently the Florida Supreme Court decided the case of Jonathan Greenfield, M.D. vs. Dorothea Daniels, which dealt with a claim being brought on behalf of a minor who was alleged to have been the biological child of a decedent, but her mother was married to a different man at the time of the child’s conception and birth. The Supreme Court of Florida ruled that the matter could be determined within the wrongful death action and didn’t require a separate lawsuit to formally establish paternity. This was a 4th DCA case against Doctors Greenfield and Tenet, St. Mary’s, Inc. d/b/a St. Mary’s Medical Center.
The case arose from a lawsuit filed by the Estate of Shea Daniels, who had committed suicide in September, 2005. The lawsuit was brought by the mother as personal representative of his estate; which is required under the wrongful death statute in Florida. The lawsuit alleged that the late Mr. Daniels was negligently discharged by the Defendants without a proper discharge assessment, even though he was opined to have been suicidal by another physician.
Dr. Greenfield moved for a Partial Summary Judgment against the minor child alleging that since the minor’s mother was married to someone other than the decedent when she was conceived and born, the mother’s husband’s paternal rights had been divested – and therefore she lacked standing as a statutory survivor.
While this case was decided in favor of the young plaintiff, it exemplifies the complicated nature of successfully plaintiffing a wrongful death case and in particular one involving medical malpractice.
The Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyers are particularly knowledgeable, experienced and skilled at dealing with these very unfortunate lawsuits and are available for consultation. You may wish to consult with us by calling 1-877-529-0444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org