Practice point: The Appellate Division affirmed the denial of defendant-physician's motion to dismiss on the grounds that a general release executed by plaintiffs bars plaintiffs' action against him.
The release provides, in pertinent part, that, in exchange for defendant-hospital's payment to plaintiffs of $25,000, plaintiffs released the hospital, its insurer, and their "agents, servants, employees, [and] staff," from "all . . . actions, causes and causes of action . . . which against the [hospital] the plaintiffs ever had." The Appellate Division found that, even if defendant-physician were a member of defendant-hospital's staff,
the release is expressly limited only to causes of action that
plaintiffs had against defendant-hospital, and does not release any other
tortfeasors not expressly named therein from liability for causes of
action asserted against them, pursuant to General Obligations Law § 15-108[a].
Student note: The meaning and extent of coverage of a release necessarily depend, as in the case of contracts generally, upon the controversy being settled and upon the purpose for which the release was actually given. A release may not be read to cover matters which the parties did not desire or intend to dispose of.
Case: Linn v. New York Downtown Hosp., NY Slip Op 03992 (1st Dep't May 24, 2016)
Here is the decision.
Tomorrow's issue: A fall at the public library.