The Appellate Group

Meeks v. Peng

Meeks v. Peng, 2024 UT 5 (Hagen, J.)

Medical Malpractice

Mother received life-sustaining treatment in the ICU. Children discontinued life support after speaking with her doctors. Later, Daughter sued Doctors for medical malpractice—individually, and on behalf of Mother’s Heirs and her Estate—alleging that Doctors did not properly inform Children of Mother’s condition. Daughter sought damages for (1) harm done to Heirs as a result of the death through a wrongful death action and (2) harm done to Mother before her death through a survival action. A jury awarded damages to both Heirs and to the Estate. Doctors moved for judgment as a matter of law on the survival claim awarded to the State, and the district court denied the motion. On direct appeal, The Utah Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding:

  • The district court correctly instructed the jury that Daughter had the burden of proving the standard of care to establish medical malpractice.
  • The district court erred in denying the doctors’ motion for judgment as a matter of law on the survival claim because Daughter failed to provide evidence that Mother experienced pain, suffering, or inconvenience during the period between the doctors’ negligence and her death.
  • Practice tip: The Utah Supreme Court recommends that the Civil MUJI Committee consider whether MUJI CV301C should be modified to clearly set forth the burden of proof.

Read the full court opinion