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New York Court Explains Grounds for Setting Aside a Verdict in a Medical Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice cases often settle or are dismissed prior to reaching the trial stage. If they are not, though, a jury will be tasked with determining issues such as the defendant’s liability and the plaintiff’s damages. Juries are expected to issue verdicts that align with the evidence presented by the parties, but if they do not, parties can ask the court to set aside the verdict. In a recent New York opinion issued in a medical malpractice case against a family doctor, the court discussed what a party who wishes to vacate a jury’s verdict must establish. If you were harmed by a careless physician, it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Syracuse family doctor malpractice lawyer to discuss your options.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the defendant family care doctor with complaints of pain in his left ear. The defendant examined the plaintiff and observed he had impacted cerumen in his ear and prescribed him antibiotics. He returned a week later with similar symptoms. The defendant’s medical assistant attempted to irrigate the plaintiff’s ear to remove the cerumen but was unable to clear the blockage. Thus, the defendant performed irrigation on the ear.

Allegedly, at a follow-up visit three days later, the defendant advised the plaintiff that the tympanic membrane in his left ear had been perforated, and he would need to undergo surgery to correct the injury. The plaintiff commenced a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the defendant failed to obtain his informed consent prior to performing the irrigation. A jury ultimately issued a verdict in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the verdict.

Grounds for Setting Aside a Jury’s Verdict

Under New York law, a court cannot set aside a jury’s verdict as contrary to the weight of the evidence unless the evidence was so greatly in favor of the moving party, that the jury could not have arrived at the verdict via any fair interpretation of the evidence. Credibility issues are within the jury’s domain, as they have the opportunity to evaluate the evidence and observe the witnesses. As such, the jury’s determinations with regard to credibility are entitled to deference.

In the subject case, the court found that the jury’s assessments were based on a fair evaluation of the evidence, and therefore, could not be deemed contrary to the weight of the evidence. Further, where the parties present expert testimony in support of their positions, it is the jury’s province to determine the expert’s credibility. Thus, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Speak to an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Patients rely on family doctors to treat a variety of issues, but if they render insufficient care, it can cause more harm than good. If you suffered injuries due to inadequate medical care, you should speak to an attorney about your rights. The experienced Syracuse family doctor malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping parties harmed by medical negligence in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.

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