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Honey v. Bayhealth Medical Center, Inc.

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

January 23, 2015

JEAN F. HONEY, Plaintiff,
v.
BAYHEALTH MEDICAL CENTER, INC., a Delaware corporation, and ERIC M. HITCHCOCK, D.O., Defendants.

Submitted: November 20, 2014

Upon Consideration of Defendants' Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Bayhealth's or its agents' Medical Negligence GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART

Upon Consideration of Defendants' Motion in Limine to Preclude Conversations Relating to an offer or Promise to Pay Medical Expenses GRANTED

Upon Consideration of Defendants' Motion in Limine to Limit Testimony by Ronald J. Bagner, M.D. DENIED

Upon Consideration of Defendants' Motion in Limine to Preclude Postoperative

Conversations of Apology GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART

William D. Fletcher, Jr., Esquire, Schmittinger & Rodriguez, P.A., Dover, Delaware for Plaintiff.

James E. Drnec, Esquire, and Melony R. Anderson, Esquire, Balick & Balick, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendant Bayhealth Medical Center, Inc.

Bradley J. Goewert, Esquire, and Lorenza A. Wolhar, Esquire, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, Wilmington, Delaware for Defendant Eric M. Hitchcock, D.O.

ORDER

Robert B. Young J.

SUMMARY

Jean Honey ("Plaintiff") alleges she suffered both temporary and permanent injuries at the hands of Dr. Eric M. Hitchcock, D.O. ("Dr. Hitchcock"), while undergoing a procedure known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This surgery was performed at Bayhealth Medical Center, Inc.'s ("Bayhealth, " and together with Hitchcock, "Defendants") facility in Milford, DE. Plaintiff filed a medical negligence suit against Dr. Hitchcock, and also against Bayhealth, under a theory of respondeat superior.

During the course of discovery, evidence was uncovered regarding Plaintiff's medical condition and medical expenses, during both the operative and post-operative periods. Defendants move to preclude any use of some of this evidence by their five motions in limine: 1) motion in limine to exclude evidence of Bayhealth's or its agents' medical negligence; 2) motion in limine to preclude evidence of medical expenses exceeding those paid by Medicare; 3) motion in limine to preclude conversations relating to an offer or promise to pay medical expenses; 4) motion in limine to limit testimony of Ronald J. Bagner, M.D.; and 5) motion in limine to preclude postoperative conversations of apology.

Defendants' first motion in limine concerns evidence obtained from the deposition testimonies of Plaintiff and Paul Plaisted, her son, which Defendants claim improperly allege direct negligence on the part of Bayhealth. As per Defendants, the claim against Bayhealth sounds in vicarious liability. The Court GRANTS Defendants' motion in part, and DENIES Defendants' motion in part. Only certain portions of these deposition testimonies directly assert negligence on the part of Bayhealth. These identified sections are, thus, inadmissible. However, the remaining sections (which, for example, generally describe Plaintiff's condition while under the care of Bayhealth and its staff) are admissible.

The Court has, by letter dated January 6, 2015, instructed the parties to provide additional analysis and support regarding their respective positions on Defendants' second motion in limine. ...


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