United States District Court, D. Idaho
JUSTIN T. GARRIOTT and SUSAN GARRIOTT, husband and wife; JASPYN GARRIOTT, JUSTIN GARRIOTT JR., JMG1, a minor, and JMG2, a minor, Plaintiffs,
WESTERN MEDICAL ASSOCIATES, PLLC, an Idaho corporation; PAUL PASCHALL, MD; ERIC CHUN, MD, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER (Dkt. 85)
Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is Defendants' first partial motion for summary
judgment (Dkt. 85), filed on March 31, 2017. The parties have
filed their responsive briefing and the matter is ripe for
the Court's consideration. This matter involves a medical
malpractice claim brought against two emergency room
physicians. His four children each bring a claim for loss of
consortium based upon the injury to their father, Justin
Court conducted a hearing regarding the motion on July 11,
2017, at which the parties appeared and presented their
arguments. After carefully considering the parties'
written memoranda, relevant case law, and the parties'
arguments, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for
partial summary judgment.
to the complaint, Plaintiffs Justin T. Garriott and Susan
Garriott are husband and wife, and they have four children.
They reside together in Spokane County, Washington.
March 25, 2015, Justin Garriott began feeling ill, and he
visited an urgent care center. On March 27, 2015, Mr.
Garriott presented to Kootenai Health hospital, located in
Kootenai County, Idaho, complaining of headache, fever, neck
stiffness, abdominal pain and constipation. On March 31,
2015, Mr. Garriott returned to Kootenai Health's
emergency department, with complaints of aching mid-back
pain, and other symptoms. He was later discharged. On the
morning of April 2, 2015, Mr. Garriott was transported via
ambulance to the Kootenai Health emergency department with
gradual onset of leg weakness and numbness, difficulty
urinating, and severe abdominal pain that radiated from his
back. An MRI was ordered. On April 3, 2015, the MRI results
were reported as revealing an epidural mass centered around
T7 and T8 with cord compression. Surgery occurred later that
same morning. Upon removal of the abscess, fluid from the
abscess was cultured and laboratory results indicated MSSA or
methicillin-sensitive S. aureus.
Garriott remained at the hospital until his discharge on
April 16, 2016. Mr. Garriott had suffered a T7 spinal cord
injury with flaccid paralysis and sensory loss of his lower
extremities, as well as neurologic bowel and bladder
amended complaint alleges negligence against two of the
emergency room physicians at Kootenai Health who treated Mr.
Garriott. Mr. Garriott's children, as well as his wife,
bring also a claim for loss of consortium based upon the
injuries to Mr. Garriott. Other than the claim for loss of
consortium, Mr. Garriott's children assert no other
sole issue before the Court with this motion is whether
Plaintiffs Jaspyn Garriott, Justin Garriott, Jr., JMG1 and
JMG2 (the Children) may proceed with their claim for loss of
consortium based upon the injury to their father. Defendants
assert that, under Idaho law, a loss of consortium claim is
available only to the spouse of the injured party, not the
injured party's children. Plaintiffs disagree, arguing
that the claim has not been foreclosed by recent Idaho case
Summary Judgment Standard
for summary judgment are governed by Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 56 provides, in pertinent
part, that judgment “shall be rendered forthwith if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). An issue is
“material” if it affects the outcome of the
litigation and may be considered “genuine” if it
is established by “sufficient evidence supporting the
claimed factual dispute ... to require a jury or judge to
resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at
trial.” Hahn v. Sargent, 523 F.3d 461, 464
(1st Cir. 1975) (quoting First Nat'l Bank v. Cities
Serv. Co. Inc., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)); see also
British Motor Car Distrib. v. San Francisco Auto. Indus.
Welfare Fund, 883 F.2d 371 (9th Cir. 1989).
Supreme Court of the United States has made it clear that
summary judgment under Rule 56 is mandated if the non-moving
party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element which is essential to the non-moving
party's case and upon which the non-moving party will
bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). If the non-moving
party fails to make such a showing on any essential element,
“there can be no ‘genuine issue of material fact,
' since a complete[ ] ...