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Court Explains Reliability of an Expert Report in a Neurological Malpractice Case

In many medical malpractice cases in New York, the defendant will file a motion asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims prior to trial. If the defendant produces an expert report that adequately demonstrates that it should not be deemed liable, the motion will be granted unless the plaintiff produces a report in opposition showing that disputed issues remain that must be presented to a jury. The plaintiff’s report must comply with certain standards, though, otherwise it will be deemed inadequate to prove a trial must be held. What constitutes an adequate expert report in a medical malpractice case was the topic of a recent opinion issued by a New York court in a case in which the plaintiff pursued claims against the defendant that arose out of the treatment of a brain tumor. If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one because of inadequate care from a neurologist, it is advisable to speak to a Syracuse neurology malpractice attorney regarding your options for pursuing damages.

The Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Care and the Plaintiff’s Claims

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was treated by the defendants for a brain tumor. The decedent’s tumor was successfully removed; however, it recurred and ultimately led to the decedent’s death. The plaintiff, who was the decedent’s wife, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, arguing that their failure to properly monitor the decedent’s health constituted negligence and that it led to the recurrence and the failure to diagnose and treat the recurrence in a timely manner. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff had not demonstrated a departure from the standard of care. The court denied the motion, and the defendants appealed.

Reliability of an Expert Report

On appeal, the appellate court found in favor of the defendants and reversed the trial court ruling. Specifically, the appellate court stated that the trial court appropriately determined that the defendants established that the evidence, when taken at face value, demonstrated their right to judgment as a matter of law. In other words, the defendants’ expert affidavit argued that the defendants did not depart from the standard practice of medicine and relied on specific facts from the record, addressing each of the plaintiff’s claims.

In response, however, the appellate court found that the plaintiff produced an expert affidavit that was conclusory, speculative, and unsupported by any competent evidence or facts of the record. As such, the appellate court found that the plaintiff failed to establish the critical elements of medical negligence. Based on the foregoing, the appellate court found that the trial court erred in denying the defendants’ motion and reversed the trial court order.

Meet with a Capable Syracuse Attorney

It is critical for a plaintiff pursuing neurological malpractice claims to obtain a strong expert report; otherwise, the claims may be dismissed. If you suffered harm because of neurology malpractice, it is wise to meet with an attorney to discuss your possible claims. The capable attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are well-versed in what it takes to prove liability in medical malpractice cases, and we will guide you through the process of pursuing any damages you may be owed. You can contact us at 315-479-9000 or via our online form to schedule a meeting.

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