M.N. v. MultiCare Health Sys., Inc. (Majority and Dissent)Annotate this Case
In this case, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington was asked to consider a class action suit brought by patients against MultiCare Health System, Inc., a Washington corporation that operates Good Samaritan Hospital. The suit arose after a nurse employed by MultiCare, Cora Weberg, improperly diverted injectable narcotics for her own use and infected some emergency department patients with hepatitis C. The patients claimed that MultiCare failed to meet the accepted standard of care in supervising and hiring Nurse Weberg. The trial court divided the class into two groups: those who were assigned to Nurse Weberg and those who were not. It then dismissed the claims of the second group. The trial court ruled that legal causation was not satisfied because Nurse Weberg did not directly treat these patients. The Court of Appeals affirmed this decision.
However, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington reversed both courts and held that legal causation is satisfied. The court held that both classes can proceed with their chapter 7.70 RCW claims, which govern civil actions for damages for injury occurring as a result of health care. The court reasoned that the General Treatment Class's injuries arose as a result of health care, allowing their claim under chapter 7.70 RCW to proceed. The court also found that legal causation is satisfied when a hospital’s negligent supervision and hiring potentially exposes patients to a bloodborne pathogen, inducing fear and requiring blood testing. Thus, the court concluded that the General Treatment Class's claims should not have been dismissed.