Mobile Infirmary Association v. Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, Inc.Annotate this Case
Mobile Infirmary Association d/b/a Mobile Infirmary Medical Center ("Mobile Infirmary") appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, Inc. ("Quest"). Quest and Mobile Infirmary entered into a Laboratory Management Agreement ("the LMA"), in which Quest agreed to manage Mobile Infirmary's onsite clinical laboratory facilities and to provide clinical testing services used by Mobile Infirmary's medical staff to diagnose and treat patients. The LMA also contained indemnity provisions. In 2015, James Ward went to Mobile Infirmary's emergency room after suffering weakness, dizziness, loss of fluids, a mild cough, and severe body aches. Ward was eventually diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis. When his condition did not improve, Ward was moved into the intensive-care unit, at which point his doctor ordered him to undergo glucose finger-sticks and a basic metabolic panel every four hours to help monitor his serum glucose, kidney function, acid/base status, and electrolytes. According to Mobile Infirmary, those basic metabolic panels were supposed to be performed by Quest, but they were allegedly canceled by one of Quest's employees. At some point, he suffered an "anoxic brain injury" and later died "as a result of multisystem organ failure secondary to severe sepsis and septic shock." Ingrid Mia Ward ("Mia"), Ward's wife and the personal representative of his estate, commenced a wrongful-death action against Mobile Infirmary and other defendants responsible for Ward's treatment and care. Quest was not named as a party to Mia's action. Mobile Infirmary informed Quest of the action and, as the case progressed, apprised Quest of the status of the proceedings, including its negotiations with Mia for potential settlement of the lawsuit. Mia and Mobile Infirmary ultimately settled the wrongful-death action. Before Mia's claims against Mobile Infirmary were dismissed pursuant to a joint motion of those parties, Mobile Infirmary filed a third-party complaint against Quest in which it sought contractual and equitable indemnity related to its defense and settlement of Mia's action. Quest filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted in part by dismissing Mobile Infirmary's equitable- indemnity claim. The Alabama Supreme Court found that nowhere in the LMA did the parties expressly agree or clearly provide a formula that, in the event there was a claim that arises out of partial liability or concurrent acts by both parties, indemnification will be required for a proportionate share. Accordingly, judgment was affirmed.