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Court Discusses Standard for Setting Aside a Jury’s Verdict in a New York Medical Malpractice Case

In most New York medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff will request a trial by a jury of his or her peers. Thus, if the case proceeds to trial, the jury will determine issues of fact and credibility, and render a verdict based on its assessment. Although jury trials are an essential part of our country’s civil litigation process, in some instances a jury issues a verdict that is against the weight of the evidence. In such cases, there are procedures in place that allow parties to seek recourse for verdicts they deem unfounded. A New York appellate court recently discussed the basis for setting aside the verdict in a surgical malpractice case. If you were injured by surgical malpractice it is important to engage an assertive Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney who will aggressively advocate on your behalf throughout each stage of your case.

Factual Background of the Case

Allegedly, the decedent was admitted to the defendant medical center to undergo a hip replacement. Following the surgery, she developed gastrointestinal bleeding. She subsequently died due to cardiac and respiratory arrest as a result of the bleeding. The plaintiff, the executor of the decedent’s estate, filed a surgical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant surgeon. The plaintiff also asserted a vicarious liability claim against the defendant medical center, alleging it was liable for the actions of the defendant surgeon. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the verdict, arguing that it was against the weight of the evidence. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion, after which he appealed.

Setting Aside a Jury Verdict as Against the Weight of the Evidence

Under New York law, a court may not disregard a jury’s verdict as against the weight of the evidence, unless the evidence is so heavily in favor of the party asking the verdict to be set aside that the verdict could not have been reached by a fair interpretation of the evidence. Here, the court noted that in a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that it is more likely than not that the defendant deviated from the accepted standard of care, and that the deviation proximately caused the plaintiff’s alleged harm. Further, the court stated that hospitals and medical centers can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees.

In the subject case, the court noted that the jury was presented with expert testimony from both parties as to whether the defendants deviated from the standard of care. The conflicting testimony presented a credibility determination for the jury, which the jury ultimately resolved against the plaintiff. Thus, the court found that the evidence was not so preponderate in the plaintiff’s favor so as to render the verdict against the weight of the evidence. Accordingly, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet With a Knowledgeable Syracuse Surgical Malpractice Attorney to Discuss Your Case

Surgeons are required to exercise appropriate care when performing surgical procedures, and the failure to do so can cause substantial and lasting injuries. If you sustained harm due to negligent surgical care you should meet with a knowledgeable Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney to discuss your case and what damages you may be owed. The skillful surgical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will analyze the facts of your case and develop effective arguments to help you seek the best legal result available under the unique facts of your case. We can be reached at 833-200-2000 or via the online form to set up a meeting to discuss your case.


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