Mills v. Pate, 225 S.W.3d 277 (2006)

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Mills v. Pate, 225 S.W.3d 277 (2006) by Mind Map: Mills v. Pate, 225 S.W.3d 277 (2006)

1. Facts

1.1. Parties

1.1.1. Joyceline Mills (Plaintiff)

1.1.2. Dr. John Pate, M.D. (Defendant)

1.2. What Happened

1.2.1. First Procedure

1.2.1.1. 1999, Mills sought medical treatment from Dr. Pate to remove fat from her abdomen, hip, and thighs

1.2.1.2. Dr Pate told Plaintiff she would "look beautiful" after liposuction to remove fat

1.2.1.3. Before the procedure, Mills signed an informed consent

1.2.1.3.1. Informed consent stated possible side effects and complications

1.2.1.3.2. Informed consent did not make promises regarding results of the procedure

1.2.1.4. Post procedure, Mills followed Dr Pate's post-op instructions

1.2.1.5. Mills noticed sagging in areas of skin months post-procedure, which Dr Pate told Plaintiff were areas of swelling

1.2.1.6. Mills asked Dr Pate to correct irregularities and he agreed to do so if she paid for a second thigh lift procedure

1.2.2. Second Procedure

1.2.2.1. 2001, Dr Pate told the Plaintiff she would have "smooth skin with no ripples, bulges or bags" post procedure

1.2.2.2. Before the procedure, Mills signed an informed consent.

1.2.2.2.1. Informed consent stated side effects and risks

1.2.2.2.2. Informed consent did not make promises regarding results of the procedure

1.2.2.3. Post-procedure, Mills was still unhappy with the results and did not feel she looked as described by Dr Pate pre-procedure with "smooth skin, no ripples, bulges"

1.2.2.4. Received a body lift procedure from another plastic surgeon, Dr Gilliland, to correct procedures performed by Dr Pate

1.2.2.5. Dr Gilliland told Mill that Dr Pate's care and treatment had been inadequate

1.3. Procedural History

1.3.1. 2003, Mills sued Dr Pate under Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act (MLIIA) for medical malpractice

1.3.1.1. Negligent in failing to warn plaintiff of risk and obtain informed consent that detailed the probable outcome of the procedure or need for future treatment

1.3.1.2. Failing to correct abdominal irregularities

1.3.2. Mills amended complaint to add breach of express warranty

1.3.3. Defendant filed a no evidence motion for summary judgement

1.3.4. No evidence motion for summary judgement granted by the court

1.3.5. 2006, Mills appealed

2. Issues Before the Court

2.1. Is there enough evidence that Dr. Pate negligent in failing to warn plaintiff of risk and obtain informed consent, which detailed the probable outcome of the procedure or need for future treatment, to overturn the no evidence summary judgement?

2.2. Is there enough evidence that Dr. Pate breached an express warranty regarding the expected outcome of the procedure to overturn the no evidence summary judgement?

3. Rule of Law

3.1. Negligence

3.1.1. Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act (MLIIA)

3.1.1.1. A cause of action against a health care provider is a health care liability claim under the Act if it is based on a claimed departure from an accepted standard of medical care, health care, or safety of the patient, whether the action sounds in contract or tort.

3.1.1.1.1. Plaintiff cannot argue negligence due to lack of informed consent unless they can prove that they would not have consented to the treatment if they knew the risks, and that they were injured by the risks of which they were uninformed

3.1.2. Breach of express warranty

4. Analysis

4.1. Negligence + Informed Consent

4.1.1. Mills' Side

4.1.1.1. Plaintiff state that Dr Pate never explained possible risks, need for further procedures or potential irregularities for the first or second procedure

4.1.2. Dr Pate's Side

4.1.2.1. No evidence motion, Dr Pate argued that Mills lacked evidence of duty, breach, causation or harm relating to the procedure

4.1.3. Court's Opinion

4.1.3.1. Court acknowledges that Mills signed an informed consent that outlines side effects, possible future procedures and complications for the first procedure

4.1.3.2. Court acknowledges that Mills signed an informed consent for the second procedure which disclosed risks of potential dissatisfaction.

4.1.3.3. Application of Rule of law: A cause of action against a health care provider is a health care liability claim under the Act if it is based on a claimed departure from an accepted standard of medical care, health care, or safety of the patient, whether the action sounds in contract or tort.

4.1.3.3.1. Is the claim based on the physician's breach of accepted standard of medical care?

4.2. Breach of Express Warranty

4.2.1. Mills' Take

4.2.1.1. Dr Pate gave an express warranty that plaintiff would "look beautiful" after the first procedure and that the second procedure would "take care of baggy/saggy skin

4.2.1.2. Mills asserted that the procedures performed by Dr Pate did not meet the standards and promises described

4.2.1.3. Mills sites Sorokolit that when a physician promises results, they may be liable for breach of express warranty

4.2.1.3.1. In Sorokolit, Physician guaranteed that plaintiff's breasts would look like a specific photo after breast surgery

4.2.2. Dr Pate's Take

4.2.2.1. No evidence motion, Dr Pate said that there was no evidence of a breach of warranty

4.2.3. Court's Opinion

4.2.3.1. Breach of warranty claim by Mills and testimony provides evidence that Dr Pate did indeed violate an express warranty

4.2.3.2. Court finds that evidence of a breach of warranty claim holds

5. Conclusion

5.1. Court affirm the trial court’s judgment in the no evidence claim regarding negligence and failure to obtain informed consent under MLIIA

5.2. Reverse the trial court's judgement regarding the breach of warranty claim

5.3. Remand the cause to the trial court for further proceedings.

6. Importance

6.1. The court's decision that Dr Pate breached an express warranty has implications for health care professionals who describe potential outcomes, cures or results of services provided. Even though the court upheld the trial court's decision that there is no evidence that Dr Pate was negligent in failing to provide obtained consent, the court's decision regarding Dr Pate's express warranty of the expected results of the procedure sets a precedent for liability in express warranty malpractice cases.

7. Impact

7.1. Paragon General Contractors, Inc. v. Larco Constr., Inc., 227 S.W.3d 876, 2007 Tex. App. LEXIS 4949 (Tex. App. Dallas June 26, 2007

7.1.1. Case: General contractor sued subcontractors for breach of contract, warranty, negligence, indemnity and contribution. District court in Tx granted summary judgement for subcontractors. General contractor appealed.

7.1.1.1. Court sited elements of a claim of breach, and cited Mills v. Pate regarding "representation of the plaintiff about the characteristics of the services by affirmation of fact, promise or description.

7.1.1.1.1. Court found that Larco and Guardian breached the express warranty of quality of services as part of a contract.

7.2. Scott v. Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc., 773 F. Supp. 2d 664, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22325 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 7, 2011)

7.2.1. Case: Plaintiff Delain Scott brought a suit against Dorel Juvenile Group claiming negligence and breach of warranty that they failed to provide adequate warning of the danger of using their latch to secure hazardous material, or provide adequate warning that a child might gain access when the latch is installed in a certain way.

7.2.1.1. Court sited elements of a claim of breach, and cited Mills v. Pate regarding "representation of the plaintiff about the characteristics of product or services by affirmation of fact, promise or description

7.2.1.1.1. Court dismissed plaintiff's claim for breach of express warranty, due to the lack of contract between the plaintiff and Dorel in order to base a claim of breach of express warranty.

8. Influence

8.1. Informed Consent

8.1.1. Mills ruling ensures that health care providers in Texas include tenants of informed consent that explain risks, no promise of outcome or results

8.2. Express Warranty

8.2.1. Health care providers in Texas are instructed to not make specific verbal promises or claims regarding the expected outcome or result of care provided