ESTATE OF GENEVA ADAMS, BY AND THROUGH HER PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, SHARON MITCHELL APPELLANT
DR. PHILLIP TROVER AND THE TROVER CLINIC FOUNDATION, INC. D/B/A BAPTIST HEALTH MADISONVILLE, INC. APPELLEES
FROM HOPKINS CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE JOHN L. ATKINS, JUDGE
ACTION NOS. 04-CI-00025 & 05-CI-00974
FOR APPELLANT: John C. Whitfield Madisonville, Kentucky Roger
N. Braden Florence, Kentucky
FOR APPELLEES: Michael B. Dailey Katherine Kerns Vesely
Caitlin E. Housley Louisville, Kentucky Ronald G. Sheffer
Louisville, Kentucky J. William Graves Paducah, Kentucky
BEFORE: ACREE, CLAYTON AND J. LAMBERT, JUDGES.
Estate of Geneva Adams, by and through her personal
representative, Sharon Mitchell, appeals the Hopkins Circuit
Court's January 17, 2017 Order granting the motion of
Appellees, Phillip C. Trover, M.D., and Trover Clinic
Foundation, Inc. d/b/a Baptist Health Madisonville, to
enforce a settlement agreement executed by Geneva Adams prior
to her death. For the following reasons, we affirm.
Appellee notes, this case has a long and complex procedural
history, beginning as an effort to certify a class of more
than four dozen plaintiffs to pursue claims against the
Appellees. This is the second appeal of this particular case
by these specific parties. For an in-depth discussion of the
common background giving rise to the proposed class action,
see Estate of Crutcher by and through Qualls v.
Trover, 2012-CA-001841-MR, 2016 WL 106283 (Ky. App. Jan.
8, 2016), review denied (June 8, 2016). For the full
background of this Appellant's first appeal, see
Estate of Adams v. Trover, 2012-CA-001877-MR, 2016
WL 100297 (Ky. App. Jan. 8, 2016).
relevant facts of this second appeal are as follows.
Adams was born December 3, 1942. In May 2001, she was
diagnosed with breast cancer; that cancer later metastasized
to her shoulder. Dr. Trover participated in her treatment,
having read a March 10, 2000 mammogram, a July 18, 2003
nuclear scan, and August 20, 2003 MRIs of her cervical and
to the events specific to Geneva, an oncologist familiar with
and reliant upon Dr. Trover's practice became concerned
that his body of work as a whole was substandard. The
oncologist reported his concerns to his superiors and the
matter was referred for investigation to the Foundation's
Medical Executive Committee.
the Committee's investigation was complete, the concerns
about Dr. Trover became the subject of news reports. Geneva
learned of these news reports and, in March 2004, asked
medical personnel at the Foundation "to have some of
[her] films reread." (Geneva Adams Dep., Sept. 29, 2005,
following month, on April 20, 2004, the Medical Executive
Committee issued a report outlining its findings and
concluding that Dr. Trover's rate of error when
interpreting mammographic slides was
"unacceptable." That same month, Dr. Trover
resigned and relocated to Michigan to practice medicine.
that report became public, discussions began between Geneva
and a representative of the Foundation, Karen Renfro. The
record does not reveal who initiated the contact; Renfro
cannot recall who contacted whom first. (Karen Renfro Dep.,
Dec. 19, 2007, p. 18). Geneva never was asked whether she
recalled. However, according to Renfro, Geneva "was
making an allegation that there was negligence or malpractice
. . . I don't know what word she, you know, used."
(Id. at p. 20). Before the middle of June, Geneva
and Renfro met at least two and, perhaps, three times.
(Id. at pp. 30, 32). They discussed Geneva's
potential claim and how to resolve it. Renfro had also
contacted the Foundation's legal counsel.
that time, on advice of legal counsel, Renfro asked Geneva if
she would agree to be evaluated by a physician of her choice
before she executed any release. Geneva agreed and selected
as her evaluator Dr. Kenneth Hargrove, a physician she had
last seen in December 2002.
made the initial contact with Dr. Hargrove, but she did not
direct him in any way. He was not paid directly; the
Foundation paid Multicare Specialists, PSC, Dr.
Hargrove's employer, for his evaluation of Geneva.
Hargrove examined Geneva on June 17, 2004, and then wrote to
Renfro with his results. He began by noting Geneva's
history of breast cancer and mastectomy about two years
earlier. Then, he described the purpose for his evaluation,
before getting to the evaluation itself:
She subsequently had metastatic disease to the right
shoulder. There is a question as to the time required to
diagnose that and she is working with the [Foundation] for an
evaluation settlement. I was asked to evaluate whether I
thought she was competent to make any financial decisions.
Other than a breast cancer this is a fairly healthy lady. . .
[She said] she never gets lost. She still drives . . . .
[and] goes everywhere she wants . . . . She does not do her
taxes. She sends those to H & R Block but otherwise takes
care of all of her financial cares. She takes care of her own
house and does her own housework, her own cooking and
cleaning and laundry and has no problems doing so.
. . . .
Her mental status is normal. She has good insight to what is
going on and I think she is capable of making any financial
decisions and settlements.
She understands that these will be difficult decisions but
she is as capable as anyone of making those difficult
decisions. . . .
63-64). In his cover letter to this evaluation, he said:
"It is understood that th[ese] would be very difficult
decisions to make and people will agree or disagree with her
decisions but she will be capable of making them as well as
anyone." (R. 62). When asked whether she agreed with Dr.
Hargrove's statement, Geneva said, "I agree."
(Adams Dep., p. 52).
record shows that Geneva actively participated in
negotiations. Three times in her deposition she said ...