Parkes v. Hermann

Charles Monnett, III

AAJ Governor*

Charles “Chuck” Monnett received his JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1983.  Since that time he has been engaged in private practice in Charlotte, North Carolina with the firm of Charles G. Monnett III & Associates.  

Mr. Monnett has also served in a number of leadership positions within the legal profession.  He is a past president of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association and the Melvin Belli Society.  He currently serves on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice, the Southern Trial Lawyers Association and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice.  He is past chair of the AAJ Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.  Mr. Monnett is also an invited member of The Summit Council. 

He previously served on the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina for over 10 years and was appointed by the Governor of North Carolina to serve 2 terms on the North Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council.  The Council advises state government on issues relating to traumatic brain injury.  

He received the inaugural Randy Evans Advocacy Award recognizing his years of work on behalf of brain injured individuals in the state of North Carolina  in 2009.  He received the Tommy Malone Great American Eagle Award from the Southern Trial Lawyers Association in 2019.  

He has an “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell, has been continuously recognized as a Super Lawyer since 2009, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. 

When not practicing law, he restores and collects classic cars and is an avid water skier. 

Case Link View Now
Opinion Filed December 18, 2020
Attorney for the Case Adam Melrose Mark Melrose
Amicus Brief Writers D. Hardison Wood Charles Monnett, III
Court NC Supreme Court
Docket No. 241PA19

This case presents the issue of whether North Carolina recognizes the “lost chances” theory of recovery in medical malpractice actions. 

In this medical malpractice action, the plaintiff was experiencing symptoms consistent with early onset of stroke.  She was taken to the emergency room.  Despite her presentation of stroke-like symptoms, her physician did not order administration of tPA within a three hour window, as required by the standard of care.  According to the only expert testimony in the record, had the tPA been promptly administered, the plaintiff would have had an ~40% chance of recovery with no significant morbidities.  By failing to administer the tPA, the defendant obliterated these chances.  At summary judgment, the trial court dismissed plaintiff’s claims because her chances were not above 50%.

NCAJ’s amicus brief, filed with its motion, explains why the Court should join the majority of states that have visited this issue and recognize lost chances as a separate cause of action.  While some states have simply relaxed the standard causation burden to achieve this result, NCAJ’s brief argues for keeping North Carolina’s traditional causation burden of “more likely than not” and simply recognize lost chances as a separate cause of action.  Further, we give the Court means with which to limit the cause of action by recognizing the importance of the fiduciary relationship, and the duty to rescue.  Additionally, we make it clear that the Court is unconstrained when ruling on common law causes of action.  Finally, we argue that obliterating significant chances of full recovery is an injury under North Carolina law.  Thus, the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action should be allowed to assert a claim for the negligent destruction of significant chances by her physician.