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Florida Second DCA finds that Fla. Stat. § 766.11, which provides sanctions for doctors who perform unnecessary diagnostic tests, is an independent cause of action from related common law medical negligence claim

On July 17, 2020, in Haynes v. Blackshear, No. 2D18-4649, the Florida Second DCA reversed a final judgment in favor of the defendant doctor in a medical negligence case and remanded the case for a new trial.  The plaintiff’s complaint against the doctor had alleged in one count that the doctor provided negligent treatment in the performance of an unnecessary angioplasty and failure to properly treat a blocked right renal artery, and in another count that he violated § 766.111, Florida Statutes (2009), by ordering and performing an unnecessary renal vein renin test.  Section 766.111, which generally applies to unnecessary diagnostic tests, provides for disciplinary penalties against a medical provider as well as for the recovery of attorney’s fees and costs to private litigants who prevail in a case alleging this violation.  At the conclusion of the trial, the trial court provided the jury with a verdict form which effectively combined the negligent treatment count with the statutory violation, notwithstanding the plaintiff’s objection that they were separate claims.  The jury subsequently returned a verdict in favor of the doctor. On appeal, the Second DCA concluded that the trial court erred because § 766.11 in fact creates an independent cause of action and reversed the case for a new trial.