Coon v. The Medical Center, Inc.Annotate this Case
Amanda Rae Coon lived in Alabama but received treatment from a hospital owned by The Medical Center, Inc. in Georgia. After the hospital mishandled the remains of her stillborn baby, Coon filed this lawsuit. Among other claims, she sought to recover damages for the negligent infliction of emotional distress. The trial court ultimately entered an order granting summary judgment to the hospital. The court applied Georgia’s common-law “physical impact rule” to reject Coon’s negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, rather than applying case law from the Alabama courts that allows such claims based on the mishandling of human remains. Coon appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, although the seven judges disagreed about the choice-of-law analysis. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded that where a claim in a Georgia lawsuit is governed by the common law, and the common law is also in force in the other state, as it was in Alabama, the common law as determined by Georgia’s courts controlled. Because the Court of Appeals reached the right result, the Supreme Court affirmed its judgment.