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JOHN B. WILLIAM, SEPE GAYLEEN J. WILLIAM,
STEVE J. WILLIAM, BRYANALISA J. WILLIAM,
BRYAN WILLIS, J. WILLIAM, TULPE J. WILLIAM,
MEGAN J. WILLIAM, and JUDAH J. WILLIAM, as
personal representatives, MONALISA J. WILLIAM, deceased,
KOSRAE STATE HOSPITAL, KOSRAE STATE
GOVERNMENT, DR. PAUL SKILLING, ST. LUKE
MEDICAL CENTER, DR. ROMEO SAAVEDRA,
OFFICE OF FSM NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN, and the
GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2003-2006
ORDER DENYING SUMMARY JUDGMENT; MEMORANDUM
Decided: June 28, 2005
For the Plaintiffs: Sasaki L. George, Esq.
Micronesian Legal Services Corporation
P.O. Box 38
Tofol, Kosrae FM 96944
For the Defendants: Arthur Buck, Esq.
(Hospital, Kosrae, Acting Attorney General
& Skilling) Office of the Kosrae Attorney General
P.O. Box 870
Tofol, Kosrae FM 96944
For the Defendants: R. Anthony Welch, Esq.
(Insurance Plan & FSM) Assistant Attorney General
FSM Department of Justice
P.O. Box PS-105
Palikir, Pohnpei FM 96941
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Civil Procedure) Summary Judgment; Torts ) Negligence ) Medical Malpractice
Summary judgment will be denied in a medical malpractice action when genuine issues of material fact exist with regard to the arrangements for the patientís follow-up after she returned to Kosrae and with regard to whether she took her medicine as directed that preclude judgment as a matter of law. William v. Kosrae State Hosp., 13 FSM Intrm. 307, 309 (Kos. 2005).
Civil Procedure) Summary Judgment
Rule 56(d) provides that when a motion for summary judgment is denied, the court shall if practicable ascertain what material facts exist without substantial controversy and what material facts are actually and in good faith controverted. Such a finding may facilitate the orderly litigation of certain cases. But if the court determines that entering a partial summary judgment by identifying the facts that no longer may be disputed would not materially expedite the adjudication process, it may decline to do so. William v. Kosrae State Hosp., 13 FSM Intrm. 307, 309 (Kos. 2005).
Civil Procedure) Summary Judgment
When the case does not appear to be unduly complex notwithstanding the fact that medical malpractice is alleged, and when, in the interest of a smooth narrative at trial, it is the better course to consider each partyís entire presentation at that time, the court finds that findings of fact under Rule 56(d) would not expedite the adjudication process in the case, and therefore declines to make such findings. William v. Kosrae State Hosp., 13 FSM Intrm. 307, 309 (Kos. 2005).
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MARTIN YINUG, Associate Justice:
On April 18, 2005, the defendants Kosrae State Hospital, Kosrae State Government, Dr. Paul Skilling, the National Government Employees Health Insurance Plan, and the Federated States of Micronesia (collectively "Kosrae/FSM") moved for summary judgment on the first, second, third, seventh, and eight claims for relief alleged in the complaint. After the court granted their request for an enlargement of time, the plaintiffs (collectively "William") filed their response on June 15, 2005.
Kosrae/FSMís motion for summary judgment is denied. Genuine issues of material fact preclude judgment as a matter of law in favor of Kosrae/FSM. FSM Civ. R. 56(c).
This is a medical malpractice action involving the treatment of Monalisa William, the deceased wife of plaintiff John B. William. Among the allegations are that she was treated for hyperthyroidism at St. Lukeís Medical Center in the Philippines from June 5 to 11, 2001, and that doctors there directed that she return for a follow-up a month later. William alleges that Kosrae/FSM breached the applicable duty of care by failing to make necessary arrangements for follow-up care within the time recommended by the doctors at SLMC, and that Monalisa died as a result. She passed away on August 14, 2001, at the Guam airport en route to the Philippines for follow-up treatment.
Questions of fact exist with regard to the arrangements for Monalisaís follow-up after she returned to Kosrae in June of 2001. According to John William, when he and his wife returned to Kosrae on June 11, 2001, he visited the Kosrae State Hospital and told them that Monalisa had to be referred back to SLMC within one month. William Aff. ∂ 9. Contradicting this is the statement of Sepe Jackson, the FSM National Health Insurance agent for Kosrae. He states that John William brought the
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SLMC clinical summary for the June treatment to Kosrae State Hospital on approximately July 19, 2001. Jackson Aff. ∂ 7. According to him, it is the SLMC clinical summary that calls for a follow-up visit back to SLMC within one month, and it is up to the patient to schedule this type of follow-up. Id. Further, according to the affidavit of Dr. Livingston Taulung, Monalisa did not come to the hospital after her return from the Philippines until mid-July of 2001. Taulung Aff. ∂ 4. Thus questions of fact exist as to when and under what circumstances the referral to SLMC was requested.
Further questions of material fact exist with regard to whether Monalisa took her medicine as directed. Kosrae/FSM asserts Monalisaís failure to take her medicine as a defense. On this point, Dr. Taulung states that Monalisa had stopped taking her medications as of mid-July 2001. Taulung Aff. ∂ 4. In contrast to this is John Williamís statement that his wife was given medicines for various purposes and that "my wife took her medicine, I kept watch." William Aff. ∂ 15. This contradictory evidence precludes summary judgment. Accordingly, Kosrae/FSMís motion for summary judgment is denied.
Rule 56(d) of the FSM Rules of Civil Procedure provides that where a motion for summary judgment is denied, the court "shall if practicable ascertain what material facts exist without substantial controversy and what material facts are actually and in good faith controverted." Such a finding may facilitate the orderly litigation of certain cases. For example, in Brager & Co. v. Leumi Secs. Corp., 84 F.R.D. 220, 222 (S.D.N.Y. 1979), the summary judgment motion papers exceeded 1000 pages, and the court found that a long trial would be streamlined if undisputed facts as determined by a magistrate were adopted. On the other hand, "if the court determines that entering a partial summary judgment by identifying the facts that no longer may be disputed would not materially expedite the adjudication process, it may decline to do so." 10A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure ß 2737, at 460 (1983) (footnote omitted). Looking to the facts of the case at bar as they have been fleshed out by discovery to date, the case does not appear to be unduly complex notwithstanding the fact that medical malpractice is alleged. In the interest of a smooth narrative at trial, it is the better course to consider each partyís entire presentation at that time. Accordingly, the court finds that findings of fact under Rule 56(d) would not "expedite the adjudication process," id., in this case, and therefore declines to make such findings.
This matter is set for trial on September 6, 2005, at 9:30 a.m.
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