CASES & NEWS

Appeals

We have handled the following appeals at Henn Lesperance PLC since opening our doors in May 2013:

Governmental Immunity

Duffy v Irons Area Tourist Association, 300 Mich App 542; 834 NW2d 508 (2013)

Oshtemo Charter Township v Kalamazoo County Road Commission, 302 Mich App 574; 841 NW2d 135 (2013)

Streng v Board of Mackinac County Road Commissioners, 315 Mich App 449; 890 NW2d 680 (2016)

Denney v Kent County Road Commission, 317 Mich App 727; 896 NW2d 808 (2016)

Flanagin v Kalkaska County Road Commission, 319 Mich App 633; 904 NW2d 427 (2017)

Schrock v City of Linden et al, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued October 25, 2018 (Docket No. 340759)

Medical Malpractice

Duty v Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued September 19, 2017 (Docket No. 332154)

Stevens v Sturgis Hospital, Inc, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued May 18, 2017 (Docket No. 332449)

Jackowiak v Sturgis Hospital, et al, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued May 18, 2017 (Docket No: 332449)

Jesse v Lakeland Specialty Hospital, ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d___ (2019) (Docket No. 341805

Hunter v Cilluffo, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued May 26, 2016 (Docket No. 326088)

Cox v Featherstone, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued April 26, 2016 (Docket No. 326078)

Land Use

Scholma v Ottawa County Road Commission, 303 Mich App 12; 840 NW2d 186 (2013)

Hucul Advertising, LLC v Charter Township of Gaines, 748 F3d 273 (6th Cir 2014)

Cole v Benzie County Parks & Recreation Commission, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued February 9, 2016 (Docket No. 325141)

Presentations

The team members at Henn Lesperance have been honored to give the following presentations since opening our doors in May 2013:

March 2019, Presentation: “Why You Could Lose a Medical Malpractice Case,” educational presentation for physicians using real facts from closed cases, Prince Conference Center at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI (Kevin Lesperance and David Busscher with joint presenter)

February 2019, “Professional Liability: Engineering the Perfect Deposition,” Michigan County Engineers’ Workshop,  Saulte Ste Marie, MI (Bill Henn and Burt Thompson P.E.)

February 2019, “A Case Study in Public Engineering: “Water You Doing?”,” Michigan County Engineers’ Workshop,  Saulte Ste Marie, MI (Bill Henn)

November 2018, “Charting: From the Operating Room to the Courtroom”, Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital, Manistee, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance and Benjamin Dost)

July 2018, Presentation and Mock Trial: “Surviving a Lawsuit – Bringing Law and Order to the Litigation Jungle,” Soaring Eagle Casino, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (William Henn, Kevin Lesperance, Benjamin Dost, David Busscher, Andrea Nester and Victoria Z.)

February 2018, Grand Rounds: “Charting Tales and Lessons from the Courtroom,” Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance and Ben Dost)

February 2018: “Professional Liability for Engineers,” SAM Conference, Bellaire, Michigan (Bill Henn)

2017: “Communication Service Provider (CSP) Permits”, Berrien County Road Commission, Monroe County Road Commission, Saginaw County Road Commission, Blue Water Highway Council, County Road Association of Michigan, and Networks Northwest, various locations throughout Michigan (Bill Henn)

October 2017: “Minimize Your Liability Exposure: Discussion of Real World Scenarios”, Association of County Road Superintendents, Manistee, MI (Bill Henn with joint presenters)

April 2017: “Vehicle Accident Investigation and Reconstruction”, Michigan County Road Commission Self-Insurance Pool Annual Meeting, Mt. Pleasant, MI (Bill Henn with joint presenters)

December 2016, Presentation: EMTALA Educational Seminar, Spectrum Health Pennock (Emergency Department providers), Hastings, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance and David Busscher)

October 2016: “The Rewards of Risk Management,” Association of County Road Superintendents, City, Michigan (Bill Henn with joint presenters)

May 2016: “Who Speaks for this Patient? Autonomy, Capacity, and Consent: Legal and Ethical Considerations in Patient Care,” Western Michigan University School of Medicine (clinic physicians), Kalamazoo, Michigan (Andrea Nester and Ben Dost with Kelly Clement and Elizabeth Fenstermaker of Bronson Healthcare)

April 2016: “Credentialing – State and Federal Law Case Update,” Michigan Association Medical Staff Services Annual Meeting, Midland, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance with Rachel Roe of Munson Healthcare)

March 2016: “Michigan Tort Reform,” South Haven Health System’s Board of Directors, South Haven, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance)

February 2016: “Policies and Procedures for Subpoenas and Search Warrants, Code Armstrong, and Code Lockdown,” South Haven Community Hospital’s clinical staff, South Haven, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance)

December 2015: “Blurred Line: Golf Carts, ORVs, Bicycles and Lawn Mowers on Local Roads,” County Road Association of Michigan First Annual Legal Issues Symposium, City, Michigan (Bill Henn)

August 2015: “Informed Consent in the Medical Malpractice Setting,” Michigan State Bar, Master Lawyer Section, Harbor Springs, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance)

August 2015: “Informed Consent: What to Document and Why, Western Michigan University School of Medicine (clinic physicians), Kalamazoo, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance and Diana Nordlund DO, JD)

May 2015: “Trial Objections,” Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Annual Meeting, Midland, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance)

June 2014: “Should you settle?,” Michigan County Road Commission Self-Insurance Pool, Detriot, Michigan (Bill Henn with joint presenters)

September 2014: “Anatomy of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit,” Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan (Kevin Lesperance with Sue Nieboer of GVSU)

March 2014: “Challenges to County Road Agency,” County Road Association of Michigan Annual Meeting, City, Michigan (Bill Henn)

July 2013, Mock Trial: Michigan County Road Commission Self-Insurance Pool Annual Meeting, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (Bill Henn and Kevin Lesperance)

News

Henn Lesperance Client Prevails on Appeal

May 14, 2019

In Jesse v Lakeland Specialty Hospital – Berrien Center, ___Mich App ___; ___NW2d___(2019) the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Henn Lesperance client Lakeland Specialty Hospital at Berrien Center. The Court of Appeals issued a published Opinion on May 14, 2019 affirming the Circuit Court’s grant of summary disposition in favor of the defense. Specifically, the Court found that letters of authority are “issued” on the date that they are signed by the Probate Judge; therefore, Plaintiff’s Complaint was not timely filed and, as such, the case was correctly dismissed.  Because it is a published opinion, the Court’s ruling on when letters of authority are issued is binding precedent on lower courts throughout the state. Henn Lesperance attorneys Bill Henn and Andrea Nester collaborated in handling the appeal.

Henn Lesperance Adds Employment and Labor Partner

April 1, 2019

Our firm is pleased to announce that we have expanded by adding management-side employment and labor attorney Andrew A. Cascini to our roster of highly talented and experienced legal professionals.  Mr. Cascini, who joins our firm as a partner, will bring to Henn Lesperance comprehensive, broad-based and sophisticated employment and labor experience.

Mr. Cascini represents employers in both the public and private sectors, helping them to navigate issues such as collective bargaining, labor relations counseling, employment policy creation and maintenance, federal and state employment and labor law compliance and counseling.  He also litigates labor and employment cases, zealously representing clients in federal and state courts in matters involving labor arbitration, administrative unfair labor practice proceedings, and employment discrimination.

“For most people, the relationship with their employer is the second-most important relationship in their life,” Andrew Cascini said.  “For that reason, employment or labor disputes can often be contentious and emotional, and many employers unfortunately respond by allowing those disputes to paralyze their organization and operations.  The most successful businesses want an employment attorney on hand who can bring order to the chaos while also understanding and respecting the sanctity of that unique relationship.”

The addition of Mr. Cascini is the first lateral partnership hire for Henn Lesperance.  Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Cascini gained nearly seven years of labor and employment litigation and counseling experience with a Grand Rapids based firm that is nationally-recognized for its labor and employment practice. He graduated with honors from both the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School.  “We think we’ve hit a home run by inviting Andrew to join us,” said Henn Lesperance co-founder Kevin Lesperance.  “Over the years, many of our clients have expressed a need for high-quality yet cost-conscious employment and labor representation, and we’re happy to now have the ability to deliver that service and exceed expectations.”

Founded by Bill Henn and Kevin Lesperance in 2013, Henn Lesperance started with just two attorneys and one paralegal.  With Mr. Cascini’s addition, the firm has grown to nine attorneys, two paralegals, and four legal assistants.  “Within a ‘biglaw’ firm, labor and employment work can sometimes get treated as if it were a ‘second rate’ or ‘derivative practice,’” Mr. Cascini said.  “But I know the work we do is of crucial importance to our clients, and here at Henn Lesperance this practice area is a perfect fit.”

Publications

“The Discovery Rule: Practice Pointers for Hitting a Moving Target”, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, April 2018, Kevin Lesperance and Andrea Nester

“Right-of-Way Permits & Uses,” Pool Cue, February 2018, Bill Henn and Andrea Nester

“Mehay v Garza: Gross Negligence Liability Reexamined,” Pool Cue, February 2018, Bill Henn and Andrea Nester

“Time For Responding to FOIA Requests? Give It Your ‘Best Efforts Estimate’”, Pool Cue, February 2018, Bill Henn and Andrea Nester

“Is Castro v Goulet the Canary in Scarsella v Pollak’s Coal Mine?”, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, December 2017, Kevin Lesperance and Ben Dost

“Additional Insured: Are You Protected?” Pool Cue, November 2017, Bill Henn

“Seasonal Roads: A Unique Solution to the Challenges of Winter Road Maintenance,” Pool Cue, November 2017, Bill Henn and David Busscher

“New Statutory Limits on Past Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases,” MSHRM, October 2017, Andrea Nester

“What Time Is It? Mitchell v Kalamazoo Anesthesiology and Medical Record Timestamps in Medical Malpractice Cases”, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, October 2017, Kevin Lesperance and David Busscher

“Can Drones Work for You?” Pool Cue, August 2017, Bill Henn and Andrea Nester

“The Collateral Source Rule and Medical Malpractice: Post-Greer Legislation Limiting Recoverable Damages”, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, July 2017, Kevin Lesperance and Andrea Nester

“The Ins and Outs of Communication Service Provider Permits,” Pool Cue, June 2017, Bill Henn and David Busscher

“Lost Wages vs. Loss of Support: New Precedent on Damages Permitted Under the Highway Exception to the GTLA in a Wrongful Death Action,” Pool Cue, February 2017, Bill Henn and David Busscher

“Innocent Third-Party Rule Eliminated from Michigan No-Fault Law,” Pool Cue, November 2016, Bill Henn and David Busscher

“Time For A New Rule,” Pool Cue, November 2016, Bill Henn and Andrea Nester

Trials

October 2018, No Cause Jury Verdict.  Successfully defended a hospital client’s nursing staff in a wrongful death medical malpractice claim involving an unobserved fall.  Shortly afterward the patient became obtunded and required mechanical ventilation, then passed away the next day.  Plaintiff essentially claimed that a chair alarm was required by the nursing standard of care, and would have prevented the fall.  The chart, however, contained no prior incidents of impulsiveness such that a chair alarm would be indicated.  Moreover, the medical evidence showed that a previously diagnosed but inoperable “truly huge” basilar artery brain aneurysm was already impeding the patient’s breathing before the fall and was the actual cause of the need for ventilation, and unfortunate demise.  That condition had led to multiple recent hospitalizations for recurrent aspiration pneumonia directly related to pressure on the brain from the aneurysm.  The jury agreed, finding that the nursing staff did not violate the applicable standard of care.

August 2018, No Cause Jury Verdict.  Successfully defended a board-certified urologist and his hospital-owned practice against a medical malpractice claim.  Plaintiff alleged that our client negligently misplaced a Foley catheter through a false passage (tear) in the urethra, and into his rectum.  The defense to this claim was simple: all of the medical evidence proved that the physician correctly placed the catheter into Plaintiff’s bladder, and that the catheter later became dislodged and then inadvertently advanced by a midlevel provider.  The jury returned its verdict in a matter of minutes.

April 2018, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a board-certified cardiologist against a wrongful death medical malpractice claim. Plaintiff alleged that the patient was improperly cleared for surgery on three blood thinners: Plavix, Aspirin, and Coumadin, leading to a post-operative bleed, six blood transfusions, and death four days later.  In contrast, we were able to prove that the surgical clearance by our client, the orthopedic surgeon (co-Defendant), and primary care physician (not sued) was appropriate under the circumstances of this case, namely the low risk of bleeding associated with the knee arthroscopy at issue.  Accordingly, the jury returned a no cause verdict for both defendants after three hours of deliberation.

March, 2018, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) against a wrongful death medical malpractice claim. Plaintiff alleged an intraoperative regurgitation and aspiration occurred because the patient was not intubated. In contrast, we were able to prove that the pre-anesthesia plan for sedation (not general anesthesia) was safe and appropriate. Moreover, that plan was created by the supervising anesthesiologist, not the CRNA. Ultimately, the jury concluded that our CRNA client did not violate the standard of care.

May 2016, Contained Jury Verdict (more than $200,000 below the last demand). Defended an orthopedic practice against a claim that its nurse negligently removed a cast causing a permanent 10-inch scar on an 8-year-old girl’s arm. Defendant admitted negligence and causation, and the case was tried on damages. Plaintiff’s final pretrial demand was $375,000, and the jury returned a verdict of $160,000, reduced to $155,000 (present value).

November 2015, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a hospital and physical therapist (PT) against ordinary negligence claims involving the alleged failure to provide a safe wheelchair back. The Plaintiff failed to check the locking mechanism, got into her wheelchair, and fell backwards hyperextending her back and allegedly requiring her spine to be fused to the pelvis two months later. The jury concluded that the hospital was not negligent in providing the Plaintiff with a wheelchair with only one locking mechanism that was not used by Plaintiff.

November 2015, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a hospital and emergency medicine physician against medical malpractice claims involving an alleged failure to diagnose gas gangrene in a post-operative knee. The jury concluded that the physician did not violate the standard of care because he performed the indicated tests, and there were no signs at that time that the patient had a latent but deadly infection. The patient died less than 48 hours later.

October 2015, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a general surgeon and his PC against medical malpractice claims regarding post-operative complications following the intraoperative decision to make a direct repair of a perforation as opposed to performing a loop colostomy. The jury concluded that the physician did not violate the standard of care because his clinical judgment in choosing to perform a direct repair was appropriate and based on good reasoning, even if the outcome was not what the patient or doctor had hoped.

July 2015, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a hospital and two certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) against medical malpractice claims regarding an alleged intraoperative stroke cause by insufficient blood pressure. Plaintiff’s claimed wage loss was approximately $2.5 million above the hospital’s insurance policy. Ultimately, the jury concluded that the CRNAs did not violate the standard of care because they kept Plaintiff’s mean arterial blood pressure within accepted ranges.

June 2015, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a general surgeon and his PC against medical malpractice claims regarding post-operative complications following a total colectomy. The jury concluded that the physician did not violate the standard of care because the Plaintiff’s outcome was an unfortunate but known and an accepted potential complication of the procedure as discussed with Plaintiff multiple times in the pre-operative informed consent conversations, as documented in the medical records.

February 2015, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a hospital and physician assistant (PA) against medical malpractice claims involving an alleged failure to diagnose a lacerated flexor digitorum profundus tendon in the emergency department. The jury concluded that the PA did not violate the standard of care and performed all of the required tests.

October 2014, No Cause Jury Verdict. Successfully defended a general surgeon and his PC against medical malpractice claims regarding post-operative complications following a gastric bypass revision Roux-en-Y. The jury concluded that the physician did not violate the standard of care; rather, Plaintiff’s outcome was an unfortunate but known and accepted potential complication of the bariatric procedure as documented in the signed informed consent documents.