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New York Court Discusses Grounds for Precluding Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases are typically a battle between the party’s experts. As such, if the court prohibits a plaintiff’s expert from testifying, it can greatly impair their ability to establish liability. In some instances, though, a plaintiff may be able to successfully argue that their expert was improperly precluded from testifying, as shown in a recent opinion delivered in a New York medical malpractice case. If you suffered harm due to inadequate medical care, you might be owed compensation, and it is smart to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a hysterectomy that was performed by the defendant. Following the surgery, she developed necrotizing fasciitis. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that his negligent post-surgical care constituted medical malpractice. Prior to trial, the defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying regarding the cause of her infection. The court granted the motion, and the case proceeded to trial. The jury ultimately found in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.

Grounds for Precluding Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the plaintiff argued, among other things, that the trial court erred in barring her expert from offering testimony. The court agreed and ultimately reversed the trial court ruling and remanded the matter for further proceedings. In doing so, the court explained that each party must identify the person they intend to call to testify as an expert witness at trial, disclose the subject matter of their testimony, and offer their qualifications.

Courts have the authority to preclude an expert from testifying regarding a new theory of liability that is not readily ascertainable from a party’s bill of particulars or the expert disclosure. In the subject case, the trial court held that the plaintiff’s expert could not testify regarding the cause of the plaintiff’s infection, as the plaintiff’s expert disclosure only referred to the defendant’s failure to diagnose and treat an infection of her postoperative wound.

The court found, however, that the other allegations asserted in the bill of particulars, and expert disclosure was not sufficiently different from the expert’s proposed testimony as to cause surprise or prejudice or to be misleading. Thus, the court found that the trial court’s preclusion of the plaintiff’s expert testimony unjustly prejudiced the plaintiff and reversed the trial court ruling.

Confer with an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Doctors have a duty to protect their patient’s health before, during, and after medical procedures, and if they fail to uphold their duties, they may be deemed liable for medical malpractice. If you sustained losses due to your physician’s negligence, it is in your best interest to confer with an attorney regarding your potential claims. The experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your options and help you to seek the best legal result available under the facts of your case. You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.

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