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Case Law Update: Vicarious Liability in Medical Malpractice

Contribution/Indemnity Marion Hospital Corporation v. Sterling Emergency Services of Illinois, No. 5-07-0703 (7/23/09) reversed the original decision stating that the hospital sued Emergency Services Providers claiming “express indemnity” to recover for settlement paid by Hospital in separate suit in another county. Trial court erred in dismissing with prejudice Hospital’s complaint as barred by Contribution Act; trial court reasoned that it sought relief for contribution or partial indemnity. Claim was actually seeking indemnity for vicarious liability of Hospital for conduct of Physician’s Assistant; and indemnity is available when liability is vicarious by operation of policy of law, not culpability of conduct of agent. This case will affect medical malpractice cases.