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Bull v. McCuskey

615 P.2d 957 (1980)

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Bull v. McCuskey

Nevada Supreme Court

615 P.2d 957 (1980)

Facts

An 86-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital with several injuries sustained in a car accident. Dr. Charles McCuskey (plaintiff) was assigned to manage the patient’s orthopedic issues. The patient’s nephew, Milan Jeffers, dismissed McCuskey after the patient developed bed sores, though the bed sores were not apparently traceable to misconduct by McCuskey. Jeffers contacted his attorney, Samuel Bull (defendant), who filed an action against McCuskey for medical malpractice. Bull did not examine any medical records, communicate with any hospital staff, depose McCuskey, or attempt to retain an expert for trial. Before the trial, Bull made a settlement offer of $750 to McCuskey, which McCuskey refused. During the trial, Bull made several disparaging comments about McCuskey, including allegations of professional incompetence and mentions of a potential pact with the devil. The jury found in favor of McCuskey. McCuskey then brought suit against Bull for abuse of process. The jury found that Bull had known the medical-malpractice claim was baseless and had abused the legal process by attempting to coerce a settlement. McCuskey was awarded compensatory and punitive damages. Bull appealed, his main contention being that McCuskey lacked sufficient evidence to prove abuse of process. The Nevada Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

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