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Missouri Court of Appeals Expands Hospital Liability for Actions of Physicians

The Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri issued an opinion yesterday that may change the entire landscape of when a hospital is liable for the actions of physicians on staff.  In the case of Jefferson v. Missouri Baptist Medical Center, the court overturned the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Missouri Baptist, holding that whether a physician is an employee of the hospital under RSMo. § 538.210.2(3) should be determined by a multi-factor test under common law principles of agency.  This holding is important because it will likely prevent hospitals from obtaining summary dismissal of claims based on alleged employer liability for the actions of physicians on staff, even when the physicians are “employed” by another entity, such as an emergency physician group.  You can download a full copy of the opinion at https://courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=77023

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