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New York Court Discusses the Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice lawsuits involve complex issues, and both injured parties and the healthcare providers that allegedly caused their harm must rely on expert testimony to prove their positions. While such testimony is generally permitted in medical malpractice cases, courts must act as gatekeepers to ensure that both the testimony and the expert proffering it meet the applicable standards. Recently, a New York court discussed the inquiry conducted when a party challenges the sufficiency of expert testimony in a surgical malpractice case in which the plaintiff sought to preclude the defendant’s expert. If you sustained losses because of the negligence of a doctor, you may be owed compensation, and you should meet a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent was undergoing treatment for colon cancer when it was discovered that she had lesions on her liver. Her oncologist referred her to the defendant surgeon, who recommended that she undergo an ablation to eradicate the tumors. The defendant performed the procedure, after which the decedent began experiencing swelling and diminished blood flow to the liver. The decedent ultimately developed liver failure and passed away.

Reportedly, the plaintiff, the decedent’s husband, filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting medical malpractice, wrongful death, and lack of informed consent claims. After discovery, the parties filed cross-motions; in the plaintiff’s motion, he asserted that the defendant’s medical expert should be precluded from testifying at trial.

Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

In his motion, the plaintiff argued that the defendant failed to produce the materials his expert relied upon, and his expert’s opinions were unreliable, and therefore, his expert should be precluded from testifying. As the matter was filed in federal court, Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governed the admissibility of expert testimony. The rule states that a witness that qualifies as an expert based on their skill, knowledge, experience, education, or training may testify in the form of an opinion if their specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact in determining an ultimate issue.

The Rule also states that the expert’s testimony must be based on sufficient data or facts and must be the product of reliable principles and methods that they have applied to the facts of the case. If a party challenges the admissibility of an expert opinion, the court must assess whether the witness is qualified to testify as an expert, whether their opinion is based on reliable methods and data, and whether it will assist the fact-finder.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff’s concerns about the defendant’s expert went to the weight of his testimony rather than its admissibility. Thus, it denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Speak to an Experienced Rochester Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Most surgeries carry some degree of risk, but many adverse symptoms that develop following procedures are the direct result of surgical malpractice. If you sustained losses due to a negligently performed surgery, you have the right to seek damages, and you should speak to an attorney. The experienced Rochester medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you seek the full extent of damages recoverable under the law.  You can contact us by calling 833-200-2000 or using our online form to set up a conference.




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