The Minnesota Supreme Court held in Popovich v. Allina, 946 N.W.2d 885 (Minn. 2020) that a hospital may be liable for the negligence of the members of its staff under the doctrine of apparent authority.
Earlier decisions by Minnesota’s intermediate court of appeals had incorrectly indicated otherwise and many malpractice cases arising out of apparent authority were either dismissed by trial courts or never brought in the first place for many years. See McElwain v. Van Beek, 447 N.W.2d 442, 446 (Minn.App. 1989), rev. denied (Minn. Dec. 20, 1989); Kramer v. St. Cloud Hosp., No. A11-1187, 2012 WL 360415 (Minn.App. Feb. 6, 2012), rev. denied (Minn. Apr. 25, 2012).
A claim of apparent authority requires the following: (1) the hospital held itself as a provider of emergency care; and (2) the plaintiff looked to the hospital for emergency care and relied on the hospital to select the personnel to provide services to the plaintiff. Popovich, 946 N.W.2d at 897 (Minn. 2020).