December 01, 2010
Dr. Maurice Rosano
Case Study: Zuckerman v. Antenucci
Partnership liability tort can take place when a partner or all partners acting on partnership business causes injury to a third person. Cause of this tort could be a negligent act, a breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, defamation, fraud, or another intentional tort (Cheeseman, 2010, p. 538). Under the Uniform Partnership Act, partners are jointly and severally liable for torts and breaches of trust (UPA, 2010). This is true even if the co-partner(s) did not participate in the act. The joint and severally liable tort permits a third party to sue one or more of the partners separately; however, monetary damages can be collected only against the partners who are sued. Facts of the Case
Medical doctors, Jose Pena and Joseph Antenucci were partners in a medical practice. Elaine Zuckerman was a patient of both Dr. Pena and Dr. Antenucci during her pregnancy. When her son Daniel Zuckerman was born, she discovered there were severe physical problems. Zuckerman, as Daniel’s mother and guardian, brought a medical malpractice suit against both of the doctors. In trial court, the jury found that Dr. Pena was guilty of medical malpractice but that Dr. Antenucci was not. A judgment against Dr. Pena was entered but not against Dr. Antenucci, in the form of $4 million. The plaintiffs appealed for judgment against both defendants. Plaintiff’s Position
Mrs. Elaine Zuckerman claimed both doctors were liable for her son’s condition. She believed both doctors were liable concerning their general partnership and the simple fact that they both gave her treatment during her pregnancy. Defendants Position
Drs. Antenucci and Pena refuted the charges.
Review of the Supreme Court’s Decision
Upon review of the case, the Supreme Court determined that both partners were jointly and severally liable for the...