from Jefferson Circuit Court (CV-14-902835)
Collins appeals from a summary judgment in favor of Ricardo
Herring, D.C., and Herring Chiropractic Center, LLC, the
defendants in her action seeking damages for alleged medical
and Procedural History
evidence, viewed, as we are required to do, in a light most
favorable to Collins as the nonmovant shows the following.
Beginning in June 2012, Collins was being treated by Dr.
Herring for injuries to her knee, shoulder, and lower back.
The treatment for her knee injury included applying a
"cold pack" to her knee. Collins received treatment
from Dr. Herring on several occasions during June 2012.
9, 2012, Collins sought treatment from Dr. Herring for her
knee injury. During that appointment, Dr. Herring's
assistant retrieved a cold pack from the refrigerator and
placed it directly on Collins's knee. On Collins's
previous appointments, the cold pack had been sitting out on
a table when she arrived and was later placed on her knee.
Collins noticed that the cold pack applied on July 9 was
harder than the cold packs that had been applied to her knee
during previous appointments. Collins's appointment that
day was in the morning, and the chiropractic center had been
closed the previous seven days. Collins felt heat when the
cold pack was removed from her knee; during her previous
treatments her knee felt cold when the cold pack was removed.
A few hours later, Collins developed blisters on her knee
where the cold pack had been. Subsequently, scars developed
on Collins's knee where the cold pack had been.
7, 2014, Collins sued the defendants alleging medical
malpractice arising out of the application of the cold pack
to her knee. The defendants timely filed an answer.
Subsequently, the defendants filed a motion for a summary
judgment. They supported their summary-judgment motion with
an affidavit from Dr. Herring. In the affidavit, Dr. Herring
stated in pertinent part:
"At all time when I provided care and treatment to Ms.
Collins I did so in keeping with the standard of care that
applied to me and to other similarly situated chiropractors.
"As a part of the care and treatment of Ms. Collins a
cold pack was used. There were two types that are used in my
practice. ... The manner and method that these types of packs
are used in my office did not cause any injury and the area
claimed to have been affected by Ms. Collins exceeds the area
over which the cold pack would have been place[d]. The use of
a cold pack in the care and treatment of Ms. Collins's
condition is a recognized and standard treatment by
chiropractors. It was not a deviation from the appropriate
standard of care to use a cold pack.
"I provided appropriate chiropractic care and treatment
when treating Ms. Collins. I did not fall below the standard
of care in providing care or treatment to Ms. Collins in any
respect. I did not cause any injury to Ms. Collins."
their summary-judgment motion, the defendants argued that
Collins had not produced any evidence demonstrating that Dr.
Herring's treatment fell below the applicable standard of
care. The defendants argued that Collins failed to present
testimony from a similarly situated expert witness because
Collins had not designated an expert witness as required
under the Alabama Medical Liability Act ("the
AMLA"), § 6-5-480 et seq. and § 6-5-540 et
seq., Ala. Code 1975, to testify that Dr. Herring breached
his duty of care in treating Collins. They also argued that
Dr. Herring's affidavit affirmed that he did not breach
the required standard of care in treating Collins and that
his treatment was not the cause of Collins's injuries.
response to their motion, Collins argued that it was not
necessary for her to present expert testimony in opposition
to the summary-judgment motion because Collins's claims
fell within an exception to the AMLA, i.e., Collins's
claims could be readily understood by a layperson. Collins
further argued that her deposition testimony provided
substantial evidence of her claims and that it was up to a
jury to determine whether the application of the cold pack on
July 9, 2012, was the cause of her injuries.
24, 2016, the trial court entered a summary judgment in favor
of the defendants. Collins timely filed ...