Campbell v. Pompa


Court: Court of Appeals Second Appellate District of Texas at Fort Worth

No. 02-18-00040-CV

Date published: Aug 15, 2019


Tamisha Campbell filed health care liability claims against Dr. Paul Pompa and Dr. Marcus Weatherall, who rendered care to her mother, Tamatha Williams, shortly before she sustained severe brain injuries. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of the defendants. In her first two issues, Campbell contends that the great weight of the evidence shows that Dr. Pompa did not render emergency medical care to Tamatha, and even if he did, Dr. Pompa and Dr. Weatherall acted with gross negligence sufficient to satisfy the heightened burden of proof that applies to certain emergency medical care. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 74.153. We conclude that the jury’s findings to the contrary were supported by factually sufficient evidence.



The difficulty in applying a factual-sufficiency review to a jury’s found facts is no surprise:

The decision [in a factual-sufficiency review] necessarily turns on a process that is incapable of formulation, because its purpose is to allow the judge to correct a miscarriage of justice even when no formula or specific standard compels the correction…. Courts are told that the jury’s findings should not be disturbed unless the verdict is “manifestly unjust,” or such as to “shock the conscience” or “clearly demonstrate bias.” Yet, these are findings on questions which have gone to the jury only because reasonable minds could differ on the answers. Furthermore, courts of appeals are told to “weigh all of the evidence” but not “reweigh it.”

William Powers Jr. & Jack Ratliff, Another Look at “No Evidence” and “Insufficient Evidence,” 69 Tex. L. Rev. 515, 525–26 (1991) (citations omitted); see also  In re King’s Estate , 150 Tex. 662, 244 S.W.2d 660, 662 (1951) (per curiam) (“It is, indeed, not simple to describe the intellectual process to be followed by the Court of Civil Appeals in passing on the fact question–to specify just how a verdict may be supported by evidence of probative force and at the same time be on all the evidence so clearly unjust as to require a new trial.”). A helpful description of the parameters of a factual-sufficiency review recognizes that a “decent respect for the collective wisdom of the jury,” generally leading to deference in most cases, cannot override our duty to avoid miscarriages of justice; therefore, “[p]robably all that the judge can do is to balance these conflicting principles in the light of the facts of the particular case.” 11 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2806 (3d ed. 1998). Here, the facts show that on December 11, 2012, no one treated Williams as if she had a severe medical condition that required immediate medical attention to avoid dire consequences. There is some probative evidence supporting a finding that Pompa provided EMC, mainly based on the evidence that Williams was provided bona fide emergency services; but the great weight and preponderance of all the evidence shows that those services did not meet the definition of EMC under the presented circumstances. As such, the heightened standard of proof for Campbell’s claims against Pompa should not apply. I would reverse the jury’s verdict as to Pompa and remand for a new trial.

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