IASIS HEALTHCARE CORPORATION AND SJ MEDICAL CENTER, LLC D/B/A ST. JOSEPH MEDICAL CENTER, Appellants
ALAN PEAN, Appellee
Appeal from the 127th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2016-43519
consists of Justices Higley, Brown, and CaugheyZ.
JENNIFER CAUGHEY JUSTICE
Medical Liability Act (Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice
and Remedies Code) requires a plaintiff asserting a health
care liability claim to serve a statutorily sufficient expert
report showing that his claim has merit. In this
interlocutory appeal, we address (1) whether one or more of
Alan Pean's claims against Iasis Healthcare Corporation
and SJ Medical Center, LLC d/b/a St. Joseph Medical Center
("SJMC") (collectively, the "Hospital
Defendants") is a health care liability claim under
Texas law, and (2) if so, whether Pean's expert report
satisfied statutory requirements. We conclude that Pean's
negligence claim is a health care liability claim, and
Pean's sole expert report failed to meet statutory
requirements. We thus reverse as to Pean's negligence
claim. We affirm as to Pean's other two claims because
they are not health care liability claims under Chapter 74.
to Alan Pean, this case began when he experienced a
"mental-health crisis, " crashed his car, and was
admitted to SJMC. Emergency room staff examined Pean, noted
his history of anxiety and bipolar disorder, and admitted him
for overnight observation. The next morning, Pean's
parents were apparently told that their son would be
asserts that he again became disoriented and confused.
"[A]bout three times, " he came out of his hospital
room naked. Nurses asked him to return to his room. A nurse
then called hospital security.
armed and uniformed off-duty Houston police officers employed
by SJMC as hospital security officers responded and entered
Pean's room. Pean says that he was experiencing a
mental-health episode at that time.
parties dispute what happened when the officers arrived, but
after an altercation, one officer tased Pean and the other
officer shot him (missing his vital organs). An officer then
was charged with two first-degree felony counts of aggravated
assault of a public servant. He was also charged with
misdemeanor reckless driving in connection with his drive to
SJMC on the night in question. A grand jury later no-billed
the felony charges, and the criminal court-at-law dismissed
the reckless driving charge.
sued both Hospital Defendants for negligence. He also
asserted malicious prosecution and conspiracy claims against
Iasis (and other defendants not party to this appeal). In his
negligence claim, Pean contends that the Hospital Defendants
were negligent in "[s]ending uniformed police
officers-armed with guns, Tasers, and handcuffs-and not
supervised or aided by healthcare professionals, to deal with
an unarmed, peaceful person, " and in failing to
adequately train or supervise security officers "to deal
with the confused, the mentally ill, the disoriented, and
other troubled or impaired people" by establishing
"proper policies and procedures on protecting people at
the hospital from harm."
malicious prosecution and conspiracy claims, Pean alleges
that Iasis and two police department defendants (not parties
to this appeal) worked together to exonerate the security
officers by bringing charges against Pean for felony assault
and reckless driving.
maintains that his claims against the Hospital Defendants are
not health care liability claims. But to be cautious, Pean
offered the expert report and curriculum vitae of Charles M.
Brosseau, Jr. Brosseau is not a physician.
Hospital Defendants argue that Pean's claims are health
care liability claims and that Brosseau's report is
inadequate under Texas law. Pean disagrees on both points.
hearing, the trial court overruled the Hospital
Defendants' objections and denied their motion to
the Texas Medical Liability Act's (Chapter 74's)
expert report requirement applies only to health care
liability claims, we must determine whether Pean asserts
health care liability claims. See Tex. Civ. Prac.
& Rem. Code §§ 74.351(a), 74.001(a)(13). We
first address Pean's negligence claim and conclude that
it is a health care liability claim. Thus, Chapter 74's
requirements apply, and Pean was required to serve an expert
report that met statutory standards. He did not do so.
malicious prosecution and conspiracy claims, however, are not
health care liability claims. Thus, Chapter 74 does not apply
to those claims.
A. Chapter 74 Health Care Liability
a claim is a health care liability claim is a question of law
that we review de novo. Ross v. St. Luke's Episcopal
Hosp., 462 S.W.3d 496, 501 (Tex. 2015). Chapter 74
defines "health care liability claim" as:
a cause of action against a health care provider for
treatment, lack of treatment, or other claimed departure from
accepted standards of medical care, or health care, or safety
or professional or administrative services directly related
to health care, which proximately results in injury to or
death of a claimant, ...