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New York Court Discusses Sufficiency of Medical Malpractice Expert Reports

Most medical malpractice cases hinge on the persuasiveness of each party’s expert reports. Thus, if a plaintiff’s report is deemed insufficient or inadequate, or the plaintiff’s expert is deemed unqualified to offer an opinion on the salient issues, the plaintiff’s report may be precluded, which will generally result in a dismissal of the plaintiff’s case. There are several factors that are assessed in evaluating whether a plaintiff’s report should be admitted into evidence, as discussed in a recent case decided by a New York district court, in which the plaintiff sought damages from the defendant government entity pursuant to the Federal Torts Claims Act. If you suffered harm at a government facility, it is prudent to speak with a trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding the evidence you may need to prove liability.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant government-owned facility for the treatment of an illness. She reportedly suffered harm when a nurse practitioner over-inflated a blood pressure cuff on her arm. Thus, she filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant pursuant to the Federal Torts Claims Act. The defendant subsequently moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert report and to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed via summary judgment. After reviewing the evidence of the case, the court granted both motions.

Sufficiency of an Expert Report

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, an expert’s testimony will be admitted if it is based on facts or data, is the product of reliable principles that have been reliably applied to the facts of the case, and the expert possesses the necessary specialized knowledge to assist the trier of fact in determining the ultimate issues of the case. To determine whether an expert is qualified, the court assesses whether the expert’s area of specialty aligns with the subject matter of his or her proposed testimony. Thus, an expert may be insufficiently qualified if his or her expertise is deficient or too general.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff’s expert had sufficient qualifications to set forth an opinion as to the nature and the cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The court found, however, that even if the plaintiff’s expert possessed the necessary qualifications, his testimony must nonetheless be both reliable and relevant. On review, the court found the plaintiff’s expert report was not reliable or relevant. Specifically, he did not adequately explain the principals he relied upon in reaching his conclusions. Further, his report did not indicate that he conducted any testing to assess the reliability of his methods. Thus, the court granted the motion to preclude the plaintiff’s expert report, and as the plaintiff could not prove a triable issue of fact existed, dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.

Speak with a Syracuse Attorney

If you suffered harm at a medical facility run by a government entity, it is wise to speak with a seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims and damages. The knowledgeable attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping parties harmed by medical negligence in the pursuit of damages, and we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can reach us through the online form or at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting regarding your case.

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