Savino v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority

Narendra Ghosh

Attorney Narendra K. Ghosh is a Partner at Patterson Harkavy LLP. With more than 15 years of legal experience, he focuses his practice on civil rightsemployment lawlabor lawworkers’ compensation, and appellate advocacy. Narendra has litigated many high-profile, notable cases involving ordinary citizens and workers fighting for their rights through the courts.

Narendra is active with the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, particularly with the Employment Law section and Legal Affairs Committee. He has served as the Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Labor and Employment Section. He has been a member of the AFL-CIO Union Lawyers Alliance for many years and currently serves on the organization’s Board. Narendra recently completed six years of service on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Justice Center, including two years as Co-Chair of the Board.

Narendra graduated from Harvard University, summa cum laude, in 1998, and from the New York University School of Law, magna cum laude, in 2005. In law school, he served on the NYU Review of Law and Social Change as a Staff Member and a Managing Editor. After graduation, he was a law clerk to the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and to the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Before attending law school, Narendra was a computer programmer for several companies in Silicon Valley.

Narendra enjoys living in Durham with his wife and two young children.

Trisha S. Pande

Associate at Patterson Harkavy

Attorney Trisha S. Pande is dedicated to fighting for workers’ rights and primarily represents employees and labor unions. She also contributes to the firm’s civil rights practice and represents the wrongfully convicted and victims of police misconduct.

Before joining Patterson Harkavy, Trisha was Assistant General Counsel at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, DC. While at SEIU, Trisha represented workers and local unions before the National Labor Relations Board and state labor relations agencies in Illinois, Minnesota, Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee, and North Carolina. She also represented the union in federal voting rights litigation and helped draft several amicus briefs in cases before the Supreme Court, including Trump v. Hawaii, which challenged the constitutionality of then-President Trump’s anti-immigrant proclamation restricting travel to the United States.

Trisha regularly speaks on topics regarding labor unions, employment rights, and alternative strategies to advancing workers’ rights in the modern economy. She has presented for the American Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and the North Carolina State AFL-CIO.

Trisha graduated from Brown University and George Washington University Law School with honors. She received the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Graduate Award in recognition of her contributions to the advancement of women in society and in the legal profession.

Case Link View Now
Opinion Filed September 25, 2020
Attorney for the Case Kent Brown Jon Moore
Amicus Brief Writers Burton Craige Narendra Ghosh Trisha S. Pande
Court NC Supreme Court
Docket No. 18PA19

In Savino v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, a wrongful death action, the jury found the hospital liable for medical and administrative negligence and awarded $5,500,000 in non-economic damages. The Court of Appeals overturned the verdict on administrative negligence and vacated the award of non-economic damages. NCAJ submitted an amicus brief in support of plaintiff’s successful petition for discretionary review. In the Supreme Court, NCAJ’s amicus brief addressed two issues.

Departing from modern standards for notice pleading and liberal amendments of pleadings, the Court of Appeals incorrectly held that omissions in the complaint precluded trial on plaintiff’s theory of administrative negligence. Because the parties engaged in extensive discovery concerning the hospital’s administrative duties and then agreed to a pretrial order that explicitly included administrative negligence, the trial court correctly denied defendant’s JNOV motion on that issue.
In setting aside the award of non-economic damages, the Court of Appeals impermissibly usurped the jury’s fact-finding role when it re-weighed conflicting medical expert testimony and found plaintiff’s evidence to be insufficient. If it stands, the Court of Appeals’ decision will give courts unfettered license to act as factfinders, effectively nullifying the role of the jury.

Furthermore, by holding that medical expert opinion is insufficient evidence of pre-death pain, the Court of Appeals’ opinion precludes plaintiffs from recovering damages in wrongful death actions where direct evidence of pain is unavailable.
Plaintiff’s medical expert testimony on the reasonable probability of pain is sufficient to support an award of damages. The trial court correctly denied defendant’s motion for a directed verdict on pain and suffering.