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Carol D. Carlson

Grand Rapids

Elizabeth McDaniel


Defending health care providers and facilities in a wide variety of medical malpractice cases for over 25 years, Carol has dedicated her litigation practice to achieving superior results while maintaining the highest professional standards. From pre-claim negotiations through trials and appeals, she offers creative, thoughtful representation focused on results.

Carol has defended doctors, hospitals and nurses in circuit courts across Michigan, as well as in federal court and the Michigan Court of Appeals. Specializing in cases involving birth trauma, nursing negligence, emergency medicine care and a variety of surgical areas, Carol has successfully defended cases from the most frivolous to the most complex.

Having achieved summary dismissal of dozens of cases following careful analysis of both legal and medical issues, Carol has also won numerous trials in front of diverse groups of jurors, on a wide variety of claims.

She is frequently invited to present seminars to healthcare providers to help them avoid being sued in the first place, or to deal with the consequences when a claim occurs.


Carol successfully represented her client hospital and received a no cause verdict after a four week trial in Lansing in a case that involved a surgical complication claim.

Carol obtained summary disposition for their client, an obstetrician/gynecologist, in a case alleging that their client caused the wrongful death of a five week-old viable fetus after performing a D&C. Carol challenged the viability opinion of the plaintiff’s expert and the court agreed, precluding that expert from offering any opinion on viability at trial. Since that was plaintiff’s sole remaining expert on causation and damages, the case was summarily dismissed before trial.

Carol and previous SHRR attorney Cindy Boer obtained dismissal of a medical malpractice wrongful death case in which their client, a family practice physician, was alleged to have failed to diagnose a rare uterine sarcoma. After a two-day evidentiary hearing, the court exercised its role as "gatekeeper" and ruled that the opinion of the plaintiff's expert was not reliable and contained analytical gaps. The court excluded the expert from testifying at trial, which resulted in summary disposition in favor of the defense.

Carol won voluntary dismissal following extensive discovery in a case that involved allegations against a psychiatrist for prescribing antidepressants to an adolescent which carried FDA warnings of possible increased suicidality.

Carol won voluntary dismissal following extensive discovery in a case that involved claims that a physician’s assistant overprescribed the pain medication Dilaudid for a woman who presented to the emergency department with unrelenting migraine headaches.

Carol and previous SHRR attorney Bill Henn were successful in obtaining summary disposition for a hospital client, and in defending that ruling in the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. The case involved the death of a patient during a cardiac catheterization procedure. The Opinion issued by the Supreme Court concluded that the plaintiff's Notice of Intent did not comply with the statutory requirements, and that therefore the subsequent Complaint and Affidavit of Merit did not toll the limitations period. This was a significant victory for defendants that overturns contrary Court of Appeals precedent and restores a defendant's ability to mount a meaningful challenge to a defective Notice of Intent.

Carol received summary disposition in Boodt v Borgess Medical Center, et al, by challenging the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s Notice of Intent. The hospital was named in the Notice, as was a physician. After arguing that the allegations lacked any specificity whatsoever as to the hospital, the trial court agreed. That decision was appealed, and Bill Henn handled the appeal and the dismissal was affirmed as to the hospital.

Carol and Jason Sebolt received a no cause of action from a Wayne County jury after a six day trial. The case involved a 59-year-old woman who presented to a hospital emergency department with acute back pain and a significant cardiac family history. She was discharged with a diagnosis of musculoskeletal pain, but was instructed to see her cardiologist as soon as possible. She died of an acute myocardial infarction five days after being discharged, and had never contacted her cardiologist.

Carol received a no cause verdict from a unanimous jury after a two week trial involving a hand surgery. The jury found that the defendant doctor was not negligent in the performance of carpal tunnel surgery, despite the fact that he cut the median nerve during the procedure. Plaintiff claimed the injury turned her into a "one armed person," and sought damages in excess of $800,000.

Previous Experience


  • Michigan Society of Healthcare Risk Management (first attorney elected to the Board of Directors)
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • American Bar Association
  • Michigan Bar Association
  • Michigan Society of Hospital Attorneys
  • Defense Research Institute
  • West Michigan Literacy Center (Tutor)
  • Family Resource Council (Board of Directors)
  • Judicial Review Committee, Kent County


  • Kalamazoo College (B.A., cum laude, 1980); Who's Who Amongst College and University Students, National Merit Scholar
  • Macalester College  
  • University of Notre Dame (J.D., 1987); Weber Award in Oral Advocacy, National Moot Court Team  


  • State Bar of Michigan, 1988


  • Listed in Best Lawyers (2012-2017) -- Medical Malpractice Law

  • Listed in Leading Lawyers (2014) -- Medical Malpractice Defense Law

  • Listed as a "Local Litigation Star" in Benchmark Litigation (2015) -- Medical Malpractice Defense

  • Listed in Best Lawyer's "Women in the Law" (2017) -- Medical Malpractice Law

  • Listed in Women In The Law, Best Lawyers (2017)

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