Missouri medical malpractice case holds that University of Missouri hospital did not waive sovereign immunity

UniversityHospital4.jpgThe Missouri Court of Appeals held in a medical malpractice case that the Curators of the University of Missouri did not waive sovereign immunity by purchasing liability insurance.

In Hendricks v. Curators of the University of Missouri, No. WD70398 (April 27, 2010), the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, holding that it was entitled to sovereign immunity under Section 537.600 RSMo. On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that the defendant had waived sovereign immunity by purchasing liability insurance. Section 537.610.1 RSMo, states that a sovereign body may waive immunity by purchasing liability insurance.

The Missouri Court of Appeals held that an express provision in the insurance policy stating that the University of Missouri was not waiving sovereign immunity was valid. This was in line with previous decisions, including State ex rel. Board of Trustees of City of North Kansas City Memorial Hospital v. Russell, 843 S.W.2d 353 (Mo. banc 1992), and Langley v. Curators of the Univ. of Mo., 73 S.W.3d 808, 811 (Mo. App. W.D. 2002).