Shaw v. Infirmary Health System, Inc.Annotate this Case
Ninety-year-old Mary Shaw was admitted to the emergency room at the Mobile Infirmary Medical Center in 2008. After surgery, she developed pressure sores while a patient at the Center. She was transferred to Defendant Infirmary Health System, Inc.'s (IHS) long term acute care center. Within a day of her transfer, she died. The Shaw family wanted to sue IHS for its alleged negligent care of Ms. Shaw. According to the attorney, The Shaws' counsel called IHS's counsel to ask which entity the Shaws should sue. IHS's counsel allegedly told him to sue IHS, and "the identity of the proper parties would be sorted out later." Subsequently the Shaws filed suit against IHS, which went unanswered. The Shaws attempted to amend their complaint to reflect the proper legal entity to sue, but IHS moved to dismiss, citing the expiration of the statute of limitations applicable in wrongful-death cases. The trial court denied IHS's motion. IHS in turn petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to compel dismissal of the case. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the Shaws' attorney did not exercise due diligence in attempting to ascertain the proper party to sue. The Court found that IHS established a clear right to have the wrongful-death action against it dismissed. Accordingly, the Court issued the writ of mandamus and directed the trial court to enter judgment in IHS's favor.