In the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled on February 7, 2023, in the case of Hamon v. Connell et al., that Diane Dickens Hamon could file a medical malpractice action for the wrongful death of her father, James Isaac Dickens, Jr. against William Clark Connell, M.D., and South Georgia Emergency Medicine Associates, P.C. (collectively “Appellees”).
As you may recall, the list of who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia is strictly controlled. If the decedent is married, that spouse has the sole right. If they are not married, the right goes to any children, if there are no children then it goes to the parents.
In this medical malpractice case, the spouse refused to file a suit, so the Appellees argued that the adult child, Hamon, did not have the right to bring the claim because Dickens had a surviving spouse. The trial court initially denied the motion, but the Court of Appeals reversed the decision. The Supreme Court of Georgia granted Hamon’s petition for certiorari to consider the issue and concluded that the trial court had properly denied the motion for judgment on the pleadings, so the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals decision.