Okay, what the hospital did was inexcusable, but unfortunately none of it was illegal (that is not to say it should not be illegal, merely that it was not). There is no reason to attack a judge for dismissing a case in that circumstance. Now perhaps they could (and should) have made the case differently, but the case they presented was untenable, which the plaintiffs themselves admitted.
"The plaintiffs Ė Ms. Langbehn, Danielle, Katie, David, and Ms. Pondís Estate Ė have pled 8 claims under Florida law. All of those claims arise out of their alleged improper treatment by personnel at Ryder and Jackson on February 18, 2007. Significantly, the plaintiffs do not allege that Ms. Pondís medical care was inadequate. Nor do they contend that such treatment was rendered without appropriate consent or informed consent, or that Ms. Langbehn would have done anything else differently concerning Ms. Pondís medical care had she been given more updates and information on her status."
"At oral argument, the plaintiffs conceded that their negligence claims in Counts I-IV against the individual defendants Ė Mr. Frederick and Doctors Zauner and Cruz Ė fail."
"At oral argument, the plaintiffs characterized their negligence per se claim as a 'stretch,'"
"The defendantsí motion to dismiss is GRANTED. Counts I-IV are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as to the individual defendants, and are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as to the Public Health Trust. Counts V-VIII are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as to all defendants. If the plaintiffsí allegations are true, which I assume that they are when deciding the defendantsí 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the defendantsí lack of sensitivity and attention to Ms. Langbehn, Ms. Pond, and their children caused them needless distress during a time of vulnerability. The defendantsí failure to provide Ms. Langbehn and her children frequent updates on Ms. Pondís status, to allow Ms. Langbehn and her children to visit Ms. Pond after emergency medical care ceased; to inform Ms. Langbehn that Ms. Pond had been transferred to the intensive care unit, and to provide Ms. Langbehn Ms. Pondís medical records as she requested, exhibited a lack of compassion and was unbecoming of a renowned trauma center like Ryder. Unfortunately, no relief is available for these failures based on the allegations plead in the amended complaint. If the plaintiffs want to file a second amended complaint, they must do so by October 16, 2009. If no second amended complaint is filed, this case will be closed."
All of the above quotes taken from the findings of the judge available here
. What confuses me is why the family did not revise and resubmit their complaint.
Florida law in this matter is messed up, it does not dictate a duty to grant visitation to anyone and so it is entirely at the doctor's whim. This is a terrible incidence of that loophole in law being abused, but it does not fall to a district court judge to change state law, indeed he can't. This is not the US supreme court, these people do not have the power of judicial review of state law. Now if they plaintiffs had claimed that the care received was altered because of sexuality or that the doctor's had unwillingness to consult or listen to the advice the partner (with full medical power of attorney) then they have commited a crime and should (and hopefully would) have been smacked down. But that wasn't the claim and there is no reason the judge should be blamed, nor is there any reason to claim that he defends the choice of the hospital. The hospital did a terrible thing, but the state legislature or state supreme court or the federal supreme court are the ones who need to deal with it. A district court judge should not come under fire for doing his job.