County Superior Court (PD 15-3691) Richard A. Licht Associate
Plaintiff Robert J. Ameen, Esq.
Defendants Kurt M. Schmidt, Jr.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.
Gilbert V. Indeglia Associate Justice
defendants, Michael Y. Baaklini, M.D. (Dr. Baaklini or
defendant) and Cedarz Medical and Cosmedics, Inc. (Cedarz),
appeal a Superior Court trial justice's grant of a motion
for new trial in favor of the plaintiff, Stacia Aptt (Aptt),
following a Providence County jury verdict in favor of the
defendants. This matter came before the Supreme Court on
December 7, 2017, pursuant to an order directing the parties
to appear and show cause why the issues raised should not be
summarily decided. After considering the arguments set forth
in the parties' memoranda and at oral argument, we are
convinced that cause has not been shown. Thus, further
argument or briefing is not required to decide this matter.
For the reasons outlined below, the Superior Court's
judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded with
instructions to reinstate the jury's verdict.
plaintiff's alleged injury arose during her visit to Dr.
Baaklini on May 29, 2012. Aptt had been his patient since
2010, generally seeing him in his North Providence satellite
office, although she had visited him a few times at his main
office in Bristol as well. Each month, she scheduled an
appointment with him to reassess her neck and back pain, for
which he prescribed pain medication. Prior to May 29, she had
no complaints about him.
day, Aptt visited Dr. Baaklini at his North Providence office
for her monthly appointment. Aptt had called to schedule an
appointment for later in the week, but the receptionist
informed her that Dr. Baaklini could see her that day. Aptt
arrived at the scheduled time, and Dr. Baaklini led her to
his office. There, she alleged that Dr. Baaklini told her,
relying on the results of a blood test in her file, "I
don't know what to tell you[, ] but your kidneys are
gone, not one but two." At trial, Aptt testified that
she had never had any problems with her kidneys, so she asked
him repeatedly-"about ten times"-whether he was
recalled that he was "kind of like getting upset with me
because I kept on [asking if he was sure]. He said, blood
work don't lie, blood work don't lie, that's what
your blood results say * * *." He handed her tissues,
because she had started crying, telling her that while she
could live without one, she could not live without two
kidneys. She testified that "right away * * * [she
began] thinking [she was] going to die." She questioned
how her kidneys could be damaged, and he attributed it to her
having taken medication for an extended period of time. She
responded that she thought the medication was safe, in
response to which Dr. Baaklini looked at her, shrugged his
shoulders, and got up with his folder. Aptt's daughter,
who had accompanied Aptt to the appointment, testified that
her mother was crying when she left Dr. Baaklini's
Baaklini instructed Aptt to make an ultrasound appointment in
a different office in the building, which he testified was
not part of Cedarz, and also requested additional blood work.
Still crying, Aptt made the appointment for the following
morning, and the receptionist provided her with accompanying
paperwork. Without reviewing them, Aptt stored the papers in
the visor of her car.
testified that she cried on the way home, having a
self-described "nervous breakdown." Aptt's
daughter similarly recalled that her mother would not speak
in the car. Aptt remembered that her stomach was "in
knots" and she "couldn't talk, " nor could
she eat or sleep that night; in sum, her night "was
misery." The next morning, Aptt felt "a tiny
bit better." She looked at the paperwork to check the
time of her appointment, and she realized that it bore
someone else's name. She questioned, then, whether the
office gave her the wrong paperwork.
called Cedarz's Bristol office. After giving her name,
Aptt asked the receptionist to review her blood work. The
receptionist obliged, concluding that all was normal. Aptt
relayed what Dr. Baaklini had told her the previous day
regarding her kidneys, including her belief that she was
going to die, to which the receptionist laughed. Aptt hung
up, and, although she was relieved, she "thought about
it for days." Following her realization that Dr.
Baaklini was mistaken, she "couldn't really
talk." Aptt testified that neither Dr. Baaklini nor