Mateer Harbert Attorneys Win a “Case of First Impression” – Clarifying the Law Regarding Parental Consent for Pediatrician’s Care of their Child
Mateer Harbert attorneys Frank Pierce and Sharon Henry recently won a case in which their arguments in a “case of first impression” were adopted by the First District Court of Appeal in Florida. The decision was the first of its kind in Florida as well as the entire nation.
In Angeli v Kluka, 190 So.3d 700 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016), Mr. Pierce and Ms. Henry represented a pediatrician and pediatric clinic in Pensacola, Florida. A father of a minor child sued after the pediatrician treated the child over the father’s objections, but with the mother’s consent. The two parents were separated but had equal custody rights, and they disagreed how the health care their child should receive.
The mother wanted to have elective, non-emergency surgery performed on the children and the father objected, which caused the doctor to cancel the surgery. Several months later, The minor elective surgery was performed with the mother only signing the informed consent document. The father sued, claiming that his consent was necessary, too.
The trial Judge dismissed the father’s complaint, and the father appealed. The Appeals Curt agreed with Frank and Sharon and the trial judge. It is now clear that the law of Florida only requires one parent to give consent for this type of health care decision.
As a result of the hard work of Frank and Sharon, pediatricians in Florida are better able to focus on the health care of their patient, the child, and are not required to referee disputes between parents.