West Virginia Record

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Lawsuit over allegations of physician's negligence over teen's suicide transferred to Putnam County

State Court

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 3, 2019


WINFIELD – A lawsuit against a physician was transferred from Kanawha Circuit Court to Putnam Circuit Court.

Dr. James A. Akins filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue in September, citing that the defendant's care of the decedent occurred in Putnam County and Akin lives in Putnam County.

"Simply put, these facts do not give rise to venue in Kanawha County," the order states. "Plaintiff brought action against defendant on the basis of negligent medical care, which in turn allegedly caused other events such as the death and discovery of the decedent. Despite certain events occurring in Kanawha County, it is clear that the cause of action arose in Putnam County when the defendant provided medical care to plaintiff."

The court found that venue in Kanawha was improper and that Putnam was the proper court to hear the complaint.

Bruce Medley filed the lawsuit as administrator of the estate of Carter D. Medley, his son.

Bruce Medley claims his son, who was 17, presented to Akins on Jan. 23, 2018, with a rash, fatigue and mild depression and was prescribed Cymbalta for 90 days at a high dosage. The medical records indicate that Carter Medley was "not thinking about suicide."

Akins did not warn Carter Medley or his family about the dangers of the medication and did not monitor him or advise his family to monitor him. When Carter Medley's mother asked about a follow-up appointment, Akins said he did not need one.

Bruce Medley claims on March 27, 2018, his son appeared to act normally and asked if he could get a haircut the next day and then went to bed.

When Bruce Medley woke up the next morning, he found his son had hanged himself during the middle of the night and did not leave a note, but the circumstances indicated the hanging was done impulsively and without advanced planning, according to the suit.

Bruce Medley claims Akins' failure to promptly follow up with Carter Medley after he began taking Cymbalta was a breach in the standard of care and a deviation of the standard of care.

Bruce Medley is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is represented by Robert M. Bastress III of DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress.

Putnam Circuit Court case number 19-C-210

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