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New York Court Explains Appealability of Rulings on Motions in Limine in Medical Malpractice Cases

In medical malpractice cases, expert opinions are not only needed to establish the standard of care but also to causally link the defendant’s breach of the standard to the plaintiff’s harm or demonstrate that the defendant complied with the standard and should not be held liable for any losses the plaintiff suffered. As such, such cases typically hinge on the persuasiveness of each party’s medical expert and it is not uncommon for one party to attempt to prevent the other party’s expert from testifying.  Specifically, parties often file motions asking the court to preclude experts from opining on certain issues or arguing an expert is unqualified or used unreliable methods to draw his or her conclusions. If such a motion fails, however, the aggrieved party likely has no recourse, as demonstrated in a ruling recently issued in a New York medical malpractice case. If you were injured by an incompetent doctor, it is advisable to consult a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your possible claims.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered harm due to complications that arose following a spinal surgery. As such, he filed a lawsuit against numerous defendants, seeking compensation for medical malpractice. At the close of discovery, the defendants filed a motion in limine asking the court to preclude the plaintiff’s experts from testifying on the issue of medical causation.

Allegedly, in the alternative, the defendants sought a Frye hearing on the issue of whether the plaintiff’s expert was qualified to opine on pertinent issues and whether the methods he relied upon to draw his conclusions were accepted in his professional community. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion. The defendants then appeal.

Appealability of Rulings on Motions in Limine in Medical Malpractice Cases

The appellate court denied the defendants’ appeal. Notably, the court did not address the merits or strengths of the defendants’ arguments. Rather, the court explained that the ruling on the motion was evidentiary in nature. As such, it was not appealable.

Specifically, the court elaborated that evidentiary rulings are considered, at most, advisory opinions, even if they are issued in advance of a trial on a motion. Such rulings are not appealable under New York law, either by permission or as of right. Thus, the court found that the defendant’s appeal must be dismissed.

Confer with an Experienced Rochester Attorney

The strength of an expert’s report and testimony can make or break a medical malpractice case, and therefore, negligent doctors will often attempt to have expert reports and testimony that are adverse to their defenses precluded from evidence at trial. If you were hurt by an incompetent physician, it is advisable to confer with a lawyer as soon as possible to assess your options for seeking damages. The experienced Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers have the knowledge and experience needed to help you seek a favorable result, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us at 585-653-7343 or through the form online to set up a meeting.

 

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