Empty hospital bed.

Native Reproductive Justice: Practices and Policies from Relinquishment to Family Preservation

By Lauren van Schilfgaarde

Adoption can be, and frequently is, a celebrated extension of kinship ties within Native communities. But we cannot ignore the historical context of adoption as a tool to empty tribal communities and delete tribal cultures. Nor can we ignore the historical context of the simultaneous deprivation and weaponization of reproductive health care, both of which deny Native women reproductive self-determination. 

It is these contexts in which anti-abortion proponents seek to ameliorate the further denial of health care through increased adoption. The proposal is eerily familiar. 

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Actions for Sexual Assault Incidental to Medical Treatment Placed Outside the Scope of Medical Liability

By Alex Stein

Ex parte Vanderwall, — So.3d —- 2015 WL 5725153 (Ala. 2015), is a new important decision that defined “medical malpractice” to identify suits adjudicated under special defendant-friendly rules. As I explained hereherehereherehereherehere, and in a foundational article on the subject, categorizing a suit as sounding in “medical malpractice”—as opposed to “ordinary negligence,” “assault” or “battery”—determines whether the plaintiff must satisfy rigid limitations and repose provisions, comply with special requirements with regard to expert testimony, face the difficult burden of proving the defendant’s deviation from professional customs, and, in the end, suffice herself with the compensation amount limited by the statutory cap on damages.

In Vanderwall, this categorization determined whether a patient could use past instances of sexual misconduct incidental to medical treatment to prove that the therapist responsible for that misconduct sexually assaulted her as well. Read More

Sexual Abuse by a Gynecologist Meets Tort Reform

By Alex Stein

A gynecologist’s patient filed a suit alleging that he touched her inappropriately and made sexually charged comments during her office visits. The suit was filed against the gynecologist and his employer. The plaintiff’s allegations against the gynecologist included medical negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Her cause of action against the employer consisted of negligent supervision and negligent infliction of emotional distress. After settling her suit against the gynecologist for an undisclosed amount, the plaintiff attempted to proceed with her action against the employer. The employer moved for summary judgment, which was granted by the trial judge and affirmed by the court of appeals. The plaintiff’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Kansas was equally unsuccessful: Cady v. Schroll, — P.3d —-, 2014 WL 265551 (Kan. 2014).

Here is why: Read More