Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HOWELL COUNTY Honorable Harvey S.
Allen, Special Judge
WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., P.J.
Gourley ("Dr. Gourley") appeals the judgment of the
trial court following a jury verdict rendered in favor of
Jessica Wodohodsky ("Wodohodsky"), a veterinarian
student, for injuries and damages she sustained while giving
vaccinations to cattle. In three points, Dr. Gourley asserts
the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment
notwithstanding the verdict because Wodohodsky failed to make
a submissible case on her negligent supervision claim against
Dr. Gourley under section 340.222 and 20 C.S.R. 2270-4.060(2);
failed to make a submissible case on her negligent
supervision claim against Dr. Gourley under common law tort;
and failed to make a submissible case on her negligent
supervision claim against Dr. Gourley in that Wodohodsky
failed to offer any expert testimony establishing the
applicable standard of care used by members of Dr.
Gourley's profession and whether Dr. Gourley breached
that standard. Finding no merit to Dr. Gourley's points,
we affirm the trial court's judgment.
and Procedural History
Gourley is a veterinarian and has an ownership interest in
the Whetstone Veterinary Service, LLC ("the
Clinic"). His practice is predominantly for large
animals. He has been on the Board of Veterinary Medicine
since 2005. In addition, Dr. Gourley was an approved
veterinary student supervisor through the University of
Missouri's ("University") External Food Animal
and Theriogenology Teach program
("EFAST"). Dr. Gourley had supervised a number of
University students in the past through that program.
Gourley was a longtime friend of David Hall
("David"). David and his brother Jerry (collectively
the "Halls"), owned and operated a cattle
production business known as "Ozark Hills
early April 2009, David called Dr. Gourley inquiring whether
Dr. Gourley currently had any veterinary students at the
Clinic who would like to help vaccinate cattle on the
Halls' farms. At that time, Dr. Gourley did not have any
students working at the Clinic, so he called Dr. Loren Shultz
("Dr. Shultz") at the University advising that
there was an opportunity at the Halls' farms for some
students to gain experience outside the classroom.
and Josh Schaeffer ("Schaeffer"), another
fourth-year University veterinarian student, both
April 13, 2009, Wodohodsky and Schaeffer met Dr. Gourley at
the Clinic, collected the vaccinations and supplies needed,
and traveled to the Halls' farm. Dr. Gourley supervised
the cattle processing that day, including vaccinations and
pregnancy checks. Also present was Jeff Gall
("Gall"), a relatively new ranch manager of the
Halls, with whom Dr. Gourley had worked previously. On that
day, only one calf was allowed in the cattle chute at a time,
and each calf was properly restrained. At the end of the day,
Wodohodsky returned to the Clinic and remained there
overnight. The Clinic provided meals and temporary student
lodging in their facility.
next day, Dr. Gourley gave Wodohodsky and Schaeffer a cooler
of vaccines to be delivered to the Halls and used that day
for cattle vaccinations at a second farm owned by the Halls.
Wodohodsky understood that Dr. Gourley would meet them at the
farm to supervise as he had the day before. When Wodohodsky
arrived at the Halls' second farm, she learned that Gall
would be handling that day's vaccination operation
instead of Dr. Gourley. Gall was not a veterinarian, and was
not authorized to supervise University students.
arriving at the Halls' second farm, Wodohodsky observed
that the scene was loud and chaotic-the bulls, heifers and
calves were not separated. Wodohodsky and Schaeffer were each
handed a vaccine gun and instructed to begin inoculating the
calves as they ran through the "alleyway."
Wodohodsky was concerned for her safety. She requested that
the process be done the same way as the day before-with only
one calf at a time restrained in the chute. Gall became
angry, fearing that this would slow down the process.
Wodohodsky's concern was dismissed, and the following
procedure was used instead: two calves were
"crammed" in the chute, with the first calf
restrained in the head catch, and the second calf
unrestrained with no squeeze applied.
Wodohodsky went to vaccinate the calf restrained in the head
catch, the unrestrained calf jumped up and crushed her hand
against the chute. After a short rest, Wodohodsky resumed her
duties. Dr. Gourley later arrived at the farm and Wodohodsky
assisted him with pregnancy checks.
a few days, Wodohodsky sought medical treatment for her right
hand. She obtained an x-ray, which was inconclusive.
Wodohodsky was ultimately diagnosed with a trapezium
fracture, and development of complex regional pain syndrome
and thoracic outlet syndrome. Wodohodsky also underwent
placement of a spinal cord stimulator. A Life Care Plan was
developed for Wodohodsky setting forth the medical treatment
she was expected to need in the future, and the costs
5, 2015, Wodohodsky filed a two-count petition for damages as
a result of her injury. The petition asserted, in relevant
part, that Dr. Gourley had a statutory duty to follow the
Missouri Veterinary Medical Board Minimum Standards, 20
C.S.R. 2270-4.060 (2007),  which required him to directly
supervise Wodohodsky during the vaccination process on the
Hall farms; a common law duty to ensure the process was
reasonably safe and to ensure Wodohodsky was not exposed to
unreasonable risk of harm; and that Dr. Gourley breached
trial commenced on June 23, 2017. At trial, Dr. Gourley
admitted that he had a duty to supervise veterinary students,
and to ensure a safe working environment for them.
the close of Wodohodsky's evidence, Dr. Gourley made an
oral motion for directed verdict. Dr. Gourley's counsel
argued that Dr. Gourley did not owe a duty to supervise
Wodohodsky because the statute and regulation did not apply
to the activity that Wodohodsky was performing at the time of
her injury, and that the statute and regulation were only
intended to protect the public and not veterinarians or
veterinary students. Dr. Gourley also argued that Missouri
law requires expert testimony to establish a breach of any
allegedly applicable standard of care in claims against
professionals, and that Wodohodsky had produced no such
expert testimony. The motion was overruled.
close of all the evidence, Dr. Gourley once again made an
oral motion for directed verdict, renewing ...