The Missouri state Supreme Court hears hundreds of cases a year. Often it is the final stop in major legal actions, since cases appealed beyond the state high court level aren’t as likely to be heard. This year in particular, the court handed down a number of decisions, some of which may have important legal ramifications for victims’ rights in a number of case types.
The first interesting case is the case of State of Missouri, et al. v. Stephanie Spilton, LCSW. Spilton was a social worker in the state of Missouri, who was accused of a number of cases of medicare fraud. A lower level court that heard the proceedings awarded a summary judgment against her to the value of nearly two million dollars. Spilton had appealed, but the Supreme Court upheld the verdict. This sends a clear message that fraud is not to be tolerated, and further might allow for other legal action to be brought against her.
Another case decided was Ann Spradling, et al. v. SSM Health Care St. Louis, et al. This case is a very important one for victims of medical malpractice, because it dealt with a certain technicality ruling at a lower level. Spralding and her husband had sued a neurosurgeon for a procedure that left her paralyzed. However, the lower courts threw out the case because the doctor that had seen her was not certified as a neurosurgeon himself. The Supreme Court ruling reversed this, ruling that doctors don’t need the same board-certification as the defendant in order to make a case for neglect or malpractice.
There were other cases handled as well, but these two in particular seem to levy the strongest message. The first warns strongly against the abuse of state authority, which is of particular concern in recent days, and the second encourages people that they can make their case and can’t have it dismissed merely on the defendant’s reputation.