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New York Court Discusses Standards for Granting a New Trial in a Gynecologic Malpractice Case

While the jury system is an essential part of jurisprudence in our country, it is not perfect, and juries do not always rule properly. Thus, a party that believes a jury verdict is improper can either seek a new trial or a new verdict. Recently, in a gynecologic malpractice case, a New York appellate court discussed the standards for determining if a new trial is warranted in a case in which the defendant alleged the jury’s verdict was improper.  If you sustained harm because of incompetent care rendered by a gynecologist, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned Rochester gynecological malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you could possibly pursue.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff reported to the defendant gynecologist with complaints of abdominal pain. An examination revealed that the plaintiff had a mass in her uterus, after which the defendant recommended that the plaintiff undergo a dilation and curettage procedure to remove the mass. The defendant performed the procedure in his office, but during the procedure, he punctured the plaintiff’s bowel and uterus. The plaintiff then commenced a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Following a trial, a jury found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her $400,000 for future pain and suffering for a period of five years. The defendant filed a motion to set aside the verdict, arguing that the damages for pain and suffering were against the weight of the evidence. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant appealed.

Setting Aside a Verdict Under New York Law

Pursuant to New York law, a motion asking the court to set aside a verdict and seeking a new trial in the interest of justice encompasses errors in a trial court’s ruling on issues such as surprise, newly discovered evidence, and the admissibility of evidence. In evaluating a motion to set aside a verdict, a court must determine whether the verdict is substantially fair or whether it had been affected, using his or her common sense, experience, and sense of fairness rather than precedent.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that the trial court should not have permitted the plaintiff to introduce collateral evidence strictly for the purpose of impeaching the defendant’s credibility. Further, the court found that in light of the importance of the defendant’s testimony and the weight given to the improperly admitted evidence regarding the defendant’s credibility, the errors were prejudicial to a degree that warranted a new trial. As such, the court reversed the trial court ruling and remanded the case for a new trial.

Speak with a Trusted Rochester Attorney

If you suffered harm because of negligent gynecological care, it is advisable to speak with a trusted Rochester gynecological malpractice attorney regarding what damages you may be able to recover in a civil lawsuit. The medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers have the skills and experience needed to help you seek the best legal result available under the circumstances surrounding your harm, and we will work diligently on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or at 585-653-7343 to schedule a confidential and free meeting.

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