Legal case briefs for nurses.

Author:Tammelleo, A. David
Position:Case overview

FL: Claims for Injury Released in Suit in State 1: Defendants-Not Named in Release-Sued in State 2

CASE FACTS: In late December of 2007, Theresa Berrios and her husband, Wilbert, traveled from their Florida residence to Georgia and stayed at the Dillard House Inn (Inn). While a guest at the Inn, Theresa was exposed to the Legionella pneumomophila bacteria, which manifested into Legionnaires' disease shortly after the couple returned home. Theresa admitted herself to Seminole Hospital (Seminole) where she spent fourteen days, the majority of which was in a drug-induced coma. The Berrios maintained that during this fourteen-day stay at Seminole the hospital negligently caused permanent nerve damage to Theresa's right leg. In December 2009, the Berrios filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, alleging various causes of action against the Inn, its owner, and five unknown agents of the Inn. They were not named in the complaint. The Berrios ultimately settled the suit by entering into a settlement agreement with the Inn's insurer. As part of the settlement, the Berrios executed a General Release and Affidavit (Release). The Release, executed in Georgia, provided that the Berrios "do hereby release, remise and forever discharged the Inn, John Dillard, Sr., Louise Dillard, Chalet Village Partnership, LLC, Chalet Village Partnership and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, their successors and assigns, heirs, executors administrators, insurers, attorneys, (Releasees) of and from any and all claims "Thereafter, the Berrios filed suit in a Florida court against Seminole, Nurses John and Jane Doe, (their actual names unknown to the Berrios), alleging that Seminole and its employees and agents, committed various acts of negligence that led to injury to Theresa's right leg. Defendants motion for summary judgment was granted by the trial court. Defendants appealed.

COURT'S OPINION: The Florida Court of Appeals held, inter alia, that the trial court erred in granting the motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, the court remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. The court rejected the defendants' contention that applying Georgia law would result in a double recovery because the Berrios received a full recovery for their injuries. However, according to the court's rationale, the Berrios had not recovered for all of their injuries. The court made a distinction that a release is a...

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