Representing a local school board in a nursing malpractice lawsuit, Anderson, Coe & King, LLP, obtained judgment at the midpoint of trial on the issue of apparent agency. The family that brought the lawsuit alleged that their elementary-school-aged daughter suffered chemical burns as a result of coming into contact with an antiseptic anti-bacterial cleaning agent used to sanitize furniture in the nurse's health suite. The plaintiffs were unable to introduce any evidence identifying a specific act of negligence on behalf of the defendants, but instead relied upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor to conclude that the skin condition resulted from the defendants' negligence.
However, after plaintiffs concluded their case-in-chief, Anderson, Coe & King, LLP, moved for judgment arguing that Plaintiffs failed to introduce the requisite evidence establishing that the school nurse was employed by the Board of Education. Anderson, Coe & King, LLP, also argued that Plaintiffs were required to introduce expert testimony establishing the nursing standard of care that was alleged to have been breached and that the disinfectant was the cause of the child's injuries. The Court agreed and entered judgment in favor of the Board of Education, finding that Plaintiffs did not establish the agency relationship necessary to find the Board liable.
Although judgment was entered in favor of the school board, other defendants remained in the case. However, the judge subsequently issued a written opinion ruling in favor of all defendants and concluding that Plaintiffs failed to establish that the skin condition was caused by the disinfectant as alleged. Instead, the Court held that testimony from the defendants' expert dermatologist established, that the child suffered from a concurrent bacterial infection which, more likely than not, caused the skin condition from which she suffered.