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State Appeals Court: University Of Miami Shielded From Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - A state appeals court Wednesday said the University of Miami is shielded from a medical-malpractice lawsuit stemming from care provided by one of its physicians at the public Jackson Memorial Hospital.

A panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld a circuit judge's ruling that the university is protected by sovereign immunity when faculty members from its Miller School of Medicine provide care at Jackson.

The ruling stemmed from treatment provided in 2013 to patient Morela Lazzari by physician Thomas Salerno, a university employee, according to the ruling.

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A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against parties including Jackson, the university, and Salerno, alleging that a failure to provide anti-coagulants resulted in disabilities for Lazzari.

Wednesday's ruling did not provide more details about the circumstances of the treatment or disabilities.

Pointing to state law and an agreement with Jackson, the university argued that it was shielded from the lawsuit.

The circuit judge and a panel of the Miami-based appeals court agreed with the university. "Under the terms of the (agreement and a section of state law), the university is immune from suit here because Dr. Salerno treated Morela Lazzari while acting as Jackson's statutory agent," said Wednesday's ruling by Chief Judge Kevin Emas and Judges Eric Hendon and Monica Gordo.

"Accordingly, the trial court properly denied Lazzari's motion for summary judgment, granted the university's motion and entered final judgment in favor of the university based on its sovereign immunity defense."

(©2020 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida's contributed to this report.)

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