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New York Court Discusses Grounds for Vacating a Jury’s Verdict in a Medical Malpractice Case

Generally, parties in medical malpractice cases will ask a jury, rather than a judge, to determine issues like liability and damages. Even if a jury is tasked with resolving factual disputes, a judge will preside over the case and determine what evidence and questions are permitted. If a judge rules incorrectly, it may adversely impact the case and may be grounds for overturning the jury’s verdict. This was demonstrated recently in a New York medical malpractice case in which the verdict against the defendant was vacated. If you sustained injuries because of negligent medical care, it is advisable to speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer about your options for seeking justice.

Procedural Background of the Case

Reportedly, the decedent underwent surgery in 2009, during which her lung was removed. She was diagnosed with lymphoma after the surgery and died approximately a year later from the illness. The plaintiff, the administrator of the decedent’s estate, filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, who was the decedent’s doctor, due to his delay in diagnosing the decedent with lymphoma.

It is alleged that the case proceeded to trial, and the jury found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her over $2.7 million in damages. The defendant filed multiple post-trial motions, including a motion to set aside the jury verdict and for a new trial in the interest of justice. The trial court denied his motions, and he appealed.

Grounds for Vacating a Jury’s Verdict

The court ultimately found in favor of the defendant and reversed the judgment. The court explained that the evidence presented at trial was legally sufficient to support the verdict rendered by the jury, namely that the defendant departed from the accepted practice of medicine and his departure proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm.

It noted, however, that the trial court should have granted the defendant’s motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial in the interest of justice. A motion to set aside a verdict and for a new trial in the interest of justice involves mistakes in the trial court’s ruling with regard to the admissibility of evidence, among other things. In evaluating such motions, the court should consider whether substantial justice has been done and whether the verdict has likely been affected. Here, the court found that the trial court’s refusal to allow the defendant’s attorney to ask certain questions of the plaintiff’s expert substantially deprived the defendant of justice. Thus, it reversed the judgment.

Talk to a Skillful Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Doctors are expected to offer their patients thorough and competent care, and if they do not, they may be held accountable. If you suffered losses because of your doctor’s negligence, you should speak to an attorney about whether you may be able to pursue damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The skillful Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your possible claims and help you to seek any compensation you may be owed. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a conference.

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