Submitted on Briefs: October 18, 2017
FROM: District Court of the First Judicial District, In and
For the County of Lewis And Clark, Cause No. BDV-2013-695
Honorable DeeAnn Cooney, Presiding Judge
Appellant: L. Randall Bishop, Bishop, Heenan & Davies,
Billings, Montana Eric Rasmusson, Bulman Law Associates,
PLLC, Missoula, Montana Neel Hammond, Hammond Law, PLLC,
Appellee: David M. McLean, Ryan C. Willmore, McLean &
Associates, PLLC, Missoula, Montana.
McGrath Chief Justice.
Eric Horn appeals from the District Court's
post-jury-trial orders overturning the verdict in Horn's
favor, and granting judgment to St. Peter's Hospital
(Hospital). We affirm.
We restate the issue on appeal as follows:
Whether the District Court erred in granting a judgment
as a matter of law in favor of St. Peter's Hospital
following a jury verdict in favor of Eric Horn.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Horn was injured in April 2011 when he fell from a roof,
fracturing his heels and a vertebra. His injuries required
several surgeries, a seventeen-day stay in the Hospital, and
a subsequent period of immobilization. Prior to surgery,
Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Martin ordered that a
retrievable blood clot filter be placed in Horn's
inferior vena cava (IVC), a large vein leading to the heart.
The purpose of installing the filter was to trap blood clots
that might arise from the period of physical inactivity
during Horn's recuperation after surgery. A radiologist
employed by Great Divide Radiology implanted an Optease brand
Dr. Martin was the primary physician responsible for
Horn's care from April 28, 2011, to August 16, 2011. In
early August 2011, after the filter had been in place about
120 days and Horn had regained some mobility, Dr. Martin
ordered that it be removed. On August 16, 2011, Dr. Jeffrey
Georgia attempted to remove the filter, but discovered that
it was embedded in the wall of Horn's IVC and could not
After the failed filter retrieval, Horn returned to the
Hospital's emergency room several times with severe
abdominal, pelvic and groin pains. He was treated for a
bladder or kidney infection, but in August 2011 returned to
the ER with a swollen right leg. Horn was transported to St.
Patrick Hospital in Missoula on August 29 and remained there
through September 2, 2011. Doctors there treated Horn for a
blood clot and hematoma, and inserted a stent in his left
The doctors at St. Patrick Hospital determined that removal
of the blood clot filter was too complicated for them to
attempt and referred Horn to the Oregon Health Sciences
University in Portland. Doctors there unsuccessfully
attempted to remove the embedded filter. In the process of
doing so, the tip of a catheter broke off in the vein and
could not be retrieved.
The OHSU referred Horn to Stanford University where doctors
used a unique laser procedure to remove the blood clot
filter. The Stanford doctors were unable to remove the
fragment of ...