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Florida Fifth DCA rules that disputed issues of fact and conflicting expert opinions precluded summary judgment in medical negligence case against hospital involving allegedly negligent administration of contaminated heparin

On March 27, 2020, in Dumigan v. Holmes Regional Medical Center, No. 5D19-1491, the Florida Fifth DCA reversed a trial court ruling which had granted summary judgment to the defendant hospital in a medical negligence case. The plaintiff alleged that the hospital had negligently administered contaminated heparin. In moving for summary judgment, the hospital argued that the plaintiff could not prove the heparin was contaminated because the hospital had not recorded the lot numbers of the product that it had administered to the patient. The Fifth DCA concluded that contested issues of fact and conflicting expert opinions precluded summary judgment, citing Gonzalez v. Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp., 273 So. 3d 1031, 1036 (Fla. 3d DCA 2019) (explaining that when evaluating expert opinions at the summary judgment stage, "[t]he focus is on whether the affidavits show evidence of a nature that would be admissible at trial; if so, any questions regarding relative credibility or weight of that evidence compared to other evidence cannot be resolved on summary judgment but must be left for the trier of fact"); LeBlanc v. Acevedo, 258 So. 3d 555, 558 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018) ("Granting summary judgment is improper 'based on a finding that the plaintiff has not come forward with any evidence of causation,' as such a finding 'improperly shifts the burden to the non-movant to establish causation.'" (quoting Pitcher v. Zappitell, 160 So. 3d 145, 148 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015))); and Petruska v. Smartparks-Silver Springs, Inc., 914 So. 2d 502, 504 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005) ("If the evidence raises any issue of material fact, if it is conflicting, if it will permit different reasonable inferences, or if it tends to prove the issues, it should be submitted to the jury as a question of fact to be determined by it").

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