MEEGHAN CARTER, individually and as Administratrix of the Estate Estate of MARGARET RACKERBY FLINT, Decedent, Plaintiffs,
MICHAEL PRINCIPE, D.O., DELAWARE ORTHOPAEDIC SPECIALISTS, P.A., ERIC JOHNSON, M.D. FIRST STATE ORTHOPAEDICS, P.A. and CHRISTIANA CARE HEALTH SERVICES, INC., Defendants.
Submitted: February 2, 2019
A. Tice, Esq., Leroy A. Tice P.A., Attorney for Plaintiff
H. Meyeroff, Esq., Richard Galperin, Esq., Morris James LLP,
Attorneys for Defendant Christiana Care Health Services, Inc.
ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO APPEAL FROM INTERLOCUTORY
Honorable Mary M. Johnston Judge.
Defendant Christiana Care Health Services, Inc.
("CCHS") has moved for an order certifying an
interlocutory appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court. The
determination of whether to certify an interlocutory appeal
lies within the discretion of the Court and is analyzed under
the criteria set forth in Supreme Court Rule
42(b).An interlocutory appeal will not be
certified unless the Court finds that its decision: (1)
determines a substantial issue; (2) establishes a legal
right; and (3) satisfies one of the five criteria set forth
in Rule 42(b)(i)-(v). Under Rule 42(b)(i), the Court may look
to the criteria established by Rule 41.
(2) By Opinion dated January 15, 2019, this Court held:
The Court finds that CCHS is a joint tortfeasor and the Joint
Tortfeasor Release does not discharge CCHS from the
possibility of vicarious liability.
THEREFORE, Defendant Christiana Care Health
Services, Inc.'s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is
CCHS argues that interlocutory appeal pursuant to Supreme
Court Rule 42(b)(v) is justified because: the decision
decides a substantial issue of material importance; the
decision involves an issue of first impression in Delaware;
trial court decisions are conflicting; the question of law
should be settled in advance of an appeal from a final order;
review may terminate the litigation; and review may serve
considerations of justice.
Plaintiffs oppose certification of the interlocutory appeal.
the course of mediation in this medical negligence action,
Plaintiffs settled claims against one physician and that
physician's practice. The claims against CCHS are not
direct, but based on a theory of vicarious liability. CCHS
was not a party to the Tortfeasor Release. At this point in
the proceedings, the only defendant remaining in the case is
CCHS. All other defendants have been dismissed.
CCHS argued in its Motion for Partial Summary Judgment that
by settling claims against the physician and practice,
Plaintiffs are barred from pursuing claims against CCHS
solely on a theory of vicarious liability. The Court
interpreted the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act
("UCATA"). The Court found that CCHS is a joint
tortfeasor as defined under the UCATA. As a joint
tortfeasor, CCHS is not discharged from liability, based on
vicarious liability, by release of another joint tortfeasor.
CCHS was neither a party nor explicitly listed in the
Court finds that the January 15, 2019 Opinion decides a
question of law of first instance in Delaware; involves the
application of a Delaware statute which has not been, but
should be, settled; and determines substantial issues and
establishes legal rights. Further, interlocutory review in this
case may terminate the litigation and otherwise serve
considerations of justice.
IT IS ORDERED that the Court's Opinion of
January 15, 2019, is hereby certified to the Supreme Court of
the State of Delaware for ...