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Let’s Hear That Again

Some 100 attorneys from around Alabama have added their names to a friend of the court brief asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider a ruling that protects a private hospital from a negligence verdict because it happened to be under state control at the time of the incident.

Originally, the heirs of Lauree Durden Ellison were awarded $3.2 million in damages because the Baptist Medical Center East emergency room sent her home without ever telling her she was suffering from a dangerous infection that later killed her.

But the state Supreme Court overturned that decision a year ago, saying that because the hospital was temporarily under state control, owing to financial problems, it was immune from damages. Former Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb dissented, saying that the idea of “sovereign immunity” was popular in royal courts but not “in a nation that bases its legal theory on ideas of individual rights and due process and equal protection of the law.”

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