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New York Court Explains Standard for Granting a Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law in Medical Malpractice Cases

Surgeons are required to possess the skills and training of other surgeons in their local community. As such, for a plaintiff to recover on a surgical malpractice claim he or she must show, in part, that the defendant surgeon performed the operation in a manner that deviated from the accepted practice in the community. If a surgeon performed a surgery in an accepted manner, a malpractice claim will not lie, even if the manner was not the preferred method. This was illustrated in a recent New York case in which the court affirmed the defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law, due to a lack of evidence that the defendant deviated from the standard of care.  If you were injured due to a negligently performed surgical procedure, you should meet with a skillful Syracuse medical malpractice attorney regarding your case to assess what damages you may be able to recover.

Factual and Procedural Background

The plaintiff underwent a brachioplasty, which was performed by the defendant. A brachioplasty, which is commonly referred to as an arm lift, is a surgical procedure that reshapes a patient’s arms. The plaintiff subsequently filed a surgical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant arguing he negligently performed the surgery thereby causing her harm. The case proceeded to trial, and at the close of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law, which the court granted. The plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed.

The Standard for Granting a Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law in Malpractice Cases

A defendant pursuing a judgment as a matter of law must show that a jury could not reasonably find in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. A court analyzing whether a defendant has met this burden must view the evidence set forth by the plaintiff as true, and grant the plaintiff the benefit of each favorable inference that can be drawn from the evidence. The court noted that in a surgical malpractice case, to avoid a judgment for the defendant as a matter of law, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care.

Here, the court noted that the plaintiff’s expert testified that while the method employed by the defendant was not the preferred method, it was an accepted method. As the plaintiff failed to produce evidence that the manner in which the defendant performed the surgery fell short of the standard of care, the court found that the trial court properly granted the defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney About Your Case

If you incurred an illness or injury because of an improperly performed surgical procedure, it is in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable experienced Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney to discuss the facts of your case and your potential recourse for your damages. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano are proficient in assisting parties injured due to surgical malpractice in the pursuit of compensation from the surgeons that caused their harm. You can reach us at 315-479-9000 or via our online form to schedule a free and confidential meeting.

More Blog Posts:

Court Affirms New York Jury’s Finding that Doctor’s Negligence did not Cause the Alleged Harm, Syracuse Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 14, 2019

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