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Court Assesses Expert Testimony in a New York Medical Malpractice Case

Whether a New York medical malpractice matter resolves in favor of the plaintiff or defendant generally depends on which party offers a more compelling expert report. As such, the failure to hire a competent expert that can provide a persuasive opinion is often fatal to a plaintiff’s case, as illustrated in a recent ruling issued in a surgical malpractice matter in which the court denied the plaintiff’s request to reargue the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. If you were harmed by a carelessly performed surgical procedure, you may be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer regarding what evidence you must offer to present a winning case.

Factual Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease and a hiatal hernia, which caused her to experience pain, abdominal bloating, and problems swallowing. She subsequently underwent three surgical procedures, which were performed by the defendant to mitigate her symptoms. Unfortunately, she suffered unspecified complications after the surgery. As such, she filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he negligently performed the surgery, which constituted medical malpractice. The defendant asked the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment. The court granted the defendant’s request, and the plaintiff appealed.

Expert Testimony in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

Under New York law, when a defendant makes a prima facie showing in a motion for summary judgment, the burden of proof shifts to the plaintiff, who must then produce materials or evidentiary facts sufficient to rebut the prima facie showing by the defendant. The appellate court explained that conclusory or general allegations of medical malpractice that are not supported by competent evidence that tends to establish the essential elements of a medical malpractice claim are not sufficient to defeat a defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

It further elaborated that in order for a rebuttal not to be deemed conclusory, the plaintiff’s expert opinion offered in opposition to the defendant’s motion must address specific allegations made by the defendant’s experts, set forth an explanation of their reasoning, and cite evidence of record that the expert relied on in formulating its opinion. In the subject case, the court noted that the plaintiff’s expert was not authorized to practice medicine in the state of New York. Thus, he was not qualified to offer an expert opinion. Further, even if his opinion could be considered, it was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact. As such, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with an Assertive Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

People injured by negligently performed procedures may be able to pursue surgical malpractice claims against the providers responsible for their harm, but if they fail to offer adequate evidence in support of their claim, they may be denied damages. If you sustained losses due to a carelessly performed surgery, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your possible claims. The skilled Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers possess the knowledge and resources needed to help you protect your interests, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf.  You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.



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