Atkins v. Lee – Case Brief Summary (Alabama)

In Atkins v. Lee, 603 So. 2d 937 (Ala. 1992), Charles and Glendon Lee sued Children's Hospital and Dr. Colby Atkins, a resident doctor at the hospital, alleging that they had wrongfully caused the death of the Lees' son. The jury returned a verdict against Dr. Atkins and Children's Hospital in the amount of $ 6,875,000.

The trial court entered a judgment on that verdict. On appeal, Dr. Atkins argued that the trial court had erred in giving the following jury charge:

"If you are reasonably satisfied from the evidence in this case that Dr. Atkins was negligent and [that] his negligence concurred and combined with the negligence of a third person, not a party to this suit, to cause the death of Charles Lee, Jr., that fact would not relieve the defendant, Dr. Atkins, from liability for his own negligence and the plaintiff would be entitled to recover from the defendant." Id. at 943.

Dr. Atkins argued that "'there was no evidence presented at trial that raised an issue of concurring and combining negligence of a third person not a party to the lawsuit.'" Id.