Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

Blatz v. Allina Health System

Minnesota Court of Appeals
622 N.W.2d 376 (2001)


Facts

Mary Blatz (plaintiff) awoke one morning having trouble breathing and with pain in her chest. Blatz’s husband called 911. The dispatcher notified the sheriff’s office and the ambulance service, which was owned by Allina Health System (Allina) (defendant). The sheriff’s deputy arrived at Blatz’s home and began administering CPR. The paramedics had difficulty finding Blatz’s home and arrived five or six minutes after the deputy. By then, Blatz was not breathing and had no pulse. The paramedics immediately gave Blatz oxygen, and within about three minutes, her heart was pumping again. Blatz was in a coma for four weeks. Blatz’s heart attack caused brain damage from lack of oxygen, leading to her permanent mental and physical impairment. Blatz sued Allina for negligence, because Allina’s paramedics reached her home late after getting lost. Blatz alleged that the paramedics’ navigational errors caused them to arrive two to five minutes later than they otherwise would have. Blatz’s expert testified that those two to five minutes were the crucial window within which Blatz might have avoided brain damage had she been resuscitated. Allina’s experts testified that Blatz’s brain damage occurred before the arrival of the sheriff’s deputy, making the paramedics’ delay inconsequential. The judge instructed the jury to hold Allina liable only for damages caused by Allina’s negligence, not for damages caused by Blatz’s heart attack. The judge further instructed the jury that if it could not separate out the damages from the two sources, Allina should be held liable for all the damages. The jury found in favor of Blatz, awarding $11 million in damages. Allina appealed, challenging, among other things, the judge’s instruction to the jury on damages.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lansing, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 250,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.