No expert report needed in slip & fall suit against Christus, justices rule

By David Yates | Nov 18, 2013

The plaintiff in a slip-and-fall lawsuit does not need to provide an expert report when suing a hospital, justices seated on Ninth Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 14.

The opinion stems from a lawsuit filed by Dorothy Guillory against Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Jefferson County Court at Law No. 1.

According to court documents, after visiting her husband in the intensive care unit at Christus, Guillory slipped in liquid on the floor of the hallway near the nurse’s station.

Her suit claims the hospital’s employees negligently permitted the floor to become slippery and wet.

Christus filed a motion requesting the trial court dismiss the case based on the plaintiff’s failure to timely file an expert report, which was denied, prompting the hospital to appeal the ruling on Oct. 18, 2012, court papers say.

“In this interlocutory appeal, we are asked to decide whether an expert report is required under the provisions of the Texas Medical Liability Act where the plaintiff, a hospital visitor and not a patient, files a suit seeking to recover for injuries that allegedly occurred when the plaintiff slipped and fell on water that was on the floor of a hallway,” states the Ninth Court’s opinion, authored by Justice Hollis Horton.

“We conclude that plaintiff’s claims against the hospital are not health care liability claims under the Texas Medical Liability Act. We hold the trial court did not err in denying the hospital’s motion to dismiss, and we affirm the trial court’s order.”

Christus is represented by attorney Erin Lunceford of the Houston law firm Sprott Rigby Newsom Robbins & Lunceford.

Guillory is represented by attorney Laurie Perozzo.

Appeals case No. 09-12-00490-CV

Trial Case Number 119-806

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