Navo v. Bingham Memorial Hospital

In Navo v. Bingham Memorial Hospital, 160 Idaho 363, 373 P.3d 681 (2016), Jennifer K. Brizee obtained the second ruling from the Idaho Supreme Court regarding the issue of apparent agency/authority. This ruling stemmed from a hospital case involving the alleged negligence of a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). The plaintiffs alleged both direct negligence and vicarious liability through a theory of apparent agency/authority. Ms. Brizee successfully obtained summary judgment on both issues, and both issues were appealed by plaintiffs. The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the summary judgment ruling dismissing the direct negligence claims against the hospital. While the Idaho Supreme Court reversed the summary judgment ruling regarding apparent agency/authority, it did agree with Ms. Brizee’s position that there is a mechanism for hospitals to avoid vicarious liability through apparent agency/authority. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled the admission/consent document in question was not sufficient to void apparent agency/authority, but this watershed opinion will be the foundation for hospitals in the state of Idaho to draft appropriate documents explaining the nature of the relationship between physicians and independent contractors who provide services on hospital premises. This decision finally cements the long-standing argument that there has to be a mechanism to avoid this liability.