HANSON v. BIG STONE THERAPIES, 2018 SD 60: Plaintiff began experiencing pain in her leg during a physical therapy session following hip surgery.  Plaintiff was diagnosed with a fractured femur and subsequently brought suit against the physical therapy company and the hospital.  Plaintiff alleged that the physical therapist was negligent during physical therapy and that the hospital was negligent in failing to timely diagnose the fractured femur.  Both the physical therapy company and the hospital moved for summary judgment separately, both which were granted by the circuit court after a hearing.  Plaintiff thereafter appealed.

As to the hospital, plaintiff argued that the circuit court improperly granted summary judgment of plaintiff’s negligence claim asserting that the hospital had a duty to more promptly x-ray plaintiff’s right leg after becoming aware of plaintiff’s incident during her physical therapy.  However, the South Dakota Supreme Court held that plaintiff was required to support her claim of professional negligence with expert testimony, which was not done, and the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment as to the hospital was affirmed.

As to Plaintiff’s professional negligence claims against the physical therapy company, the South Dakota Supreme Court found that plaintiff did present expert testimony that, when viewed in a light most favorable to plaintiff, revealed that the physical therapy company deviated from the required standard of care in its therapy to plaintiff.  Thus, the circuit court’s granting of summary judgment was in error and, thus, reversed.

STATE v. ROSS, 2018 SD 59: Defendant pled guilty to third-degree burglary as part of a plea agreement.  The circuit court sentenced the defendant to five years in prison with three and one-half years suspended.  As defendant was leaving his counsel’s table, the defendant made an obscene hand gesture toward the court.  The court then summoned the defendant back to counsel’s table and re-sentenced him, imposing the entire five-year term.  Before entry of the judgment of conviction, the defendant filed a pro se motion for re sentencing.  The court entered a judgment of conviction but also granted a re sentencing hearing, where the court imposed a 60-month sentence with 40 months suspended.  The defendant appealed, asserting that the circuit court was without authority to increase the defendant’s punishment beyond the court’s initial sentence of five years with three and one-half years suspended.

The South Dakota Supreme Court found that the circuit court had not dismissed the attorneys; that the circuit court had not called the next case; and that defendant had not left the courtroom and, therefore, there was no “formal break in the proceedings.”  Defendant had, thus, not commenced the serving of said sentence and the circuit court was with authority to increase the severity of the defendant’s sentence.  The circuit court’s sentence was affirmed.