Burless v. West Virginia University of Hospitals, Inc.
Supreme Court of West Virginia
601 S.E.2d 85 (2004)
Jaclyn Burless (plaintiff) was referred to West Virginia University Hospital (WVUH) (defendant) to undergo an ultrasound procedure as part of her prenatal care. Burless signed a consent form that stated the physicians working at WVUH were not employees of the hospital. A few months later, Burless experienced high blood pressure and edema and returned to WVUH and was treated at the facility’s High Risk Clinic on-site. Burless gave birth to a daughter who, shortly thereafter, experienced seizures and suffered a stroke. Burless filed a negligence action alleging that the physicians and hospital were negligent in failing to monitor her labor and delivery, which caused severe and permanent mental, neurological, and psychological injuries to her daughter. Burless asserted that WVUH was vicariously liable on an apparent agency theory for the negligent actions of the physicians. WVUH moved for summary judgment on the basis that no apparent relationship existed, which the court granted.. Melony Pritt (plaintiff) complained of pain in her lower right abdomen at the WVUH emergency room. Upon examination, it was determined that she was nine-weeks pregnant and had a cyst on her left ovary. Pritt signed a consent form similar to the one signed by Burless stating that the physicians working at WVUH were not employees of the hospital. During the operation to remove the cyst, the cyst broke open and fluid leaked into her pelvic cavity. The surgeon did not irrigate the site nor did he prescribe Pritt antibiotics. Pritt suffered a severe abdominal infection that caused premature labor. As a result, her son was born with severe permanent mental, neurological, and psychological injuries. Pritt similarly sued WVUH on an apparent agency theory that it was liable for the negligent acts of the physicians. The court granted WVUH’s motion for summary judgment. Both Burless and Pritt appealed. The state supreme court consolidated Burless and Pritt’s cases for the purposes of rendering a decision.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Davis, J.)
What to do next…
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.
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 166,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 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.