KORTNEY RAE ST. GEORGE and JOHN ST. GEORGE, wife and husband, Plaintiffs/Appellants,
CHARLES STEVEN PLIMPTON, M.D., individually; C. STEVEN PLIMPTON M.D., P.C., an Arizona professional corporation; ELLEN MARIE FRANKLIN, CNM, individually, Defendants/Appellees.
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2012-005446
The Honorable Patricia A. Starr, Judge
Law Group PC, Phoenix By Sal J. Rivera Counsel for
& Wittekind PC, Phoenix By Richard A. Kent and Cynthia Y.
Patane Co-Counsel for Plimpton Defendants/Appellees
Skelton & Hochuli PLC, Phoenix By Eileen Dennis GilBride
Co-Counsel for Plimpton Defendants/Appellees
Campbell Yost Clare & Norell PC, Phoenix By Stephen C.
Yost Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Ellen Marie Franklin
Presiding Judge Andrew W. Gould delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Judge Peter B. Swann and Judge Patricia A.
W. Gould, Presiding Judge
Kortney Rae St. George ("St. George") and John St.
George (collectively, "the St. Georges") appeal
from the superior court's order granting summary judgment
to Charles Steven Plimpton, M.D. and C. Steven Plimpton,
M.D., P.C. (collectively "Dr. Plimpton") and Ellen
Marie Franklin, CNM ("Nurse Franklin"). For the
following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
This medical malpractice case is based on obstetrical and
nurse-midwifery services rendered to St. George. The St.
Georges allege Nurse Franklin, a certified nurse midwife,
injured St. George by negligently applying pubic pressure
during the delivery of her baby.
On April 6, 2012, the St. Georges filed a medical malpractice
action against Dr. Plimpton and Nurse Franklin.
St. Georges also alleged a separate claim for negligent
supervision against Phoenix Baptist Hospital.
In January 2013, the St. Georges filed a certification
stating that expert testimony was necessary to prove their
medical malpractice claims. See Ariz. Rev. Stat.
("A.R.S.") section 12-2603(A) (requiring a claimant
in a medical malpractice action to certify, at the time her
claim is filed and served, "whether or not expert
opinion testimony is necessary to prove the health care
professional's standard of care or liability for the
claim.") On February 22, 2013, the St. Georges disclosed
that Dr. Harry Watters ("Dr. Watters"), a
board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, would testify as
their standard of care expert for both Dr. Plimpton and Nurse
In March 2013, the St. Georges disclosed Dr. Watters'
preliminary expert opinion affidavit as required by A.R.S.
§ 12-2603(B). In his affidavit, Dr. Watters avowed that
he has "supervised Certified Nurse-MidWifes (CFM)
throughout [his] career, " and described various
deviations in the standard of care by Nurse Franklin. Dr.
Watters also asserted there was "inadequate doctor
supervision of" Nurse Franklin, and "[t]he doctor
should have been much more involved in this traumatic
Dr. Watters was deposed in October 2014. At his deposition,
Dr. Watters testified that, in his opinion, Nurse Franklin
fell below the standard of care for a certified nurse
midwife. Dr. Watters also testified that he has worked with
and supervised nurse mid-wives throughout his career, but has
never practiced as a nurse-midwife.
During his deposition, Dr. Watters also testified that Dr.
Plimpton's "relationship" with Nurse Franklin
fell below the standard of care. However, Dr. Watters could
not specify any act or omission by Dr. Plimpton that fell
below the standard of care as to his treatment of St. George.
Specifically, Dr. Watters testified:
Q: So as you sit here today, you cannot state, to a
reasonable degree of probability, that Dr. Plimpton actually