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Plaintiffs in Birth Injury Case Were Not Entitled to Relief from Defense Verdict, According to New York Appellate Court

A Syracuse medical malpractice case can have many issues and may take several years to ultimately be decided. While this can be daunting to a would-be plaintiff, this does not mean that a claim against a careless doctor or other medical professional should not be pursued. If you believe that you or a loved one has been hurt by a doctor’s mistake, the best course of action is to talk to an attorney about your case as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiffs were the parents of a minor child who allegedly suffered certain injuries as a result of the negligence of the defendant doctors and medical clinic during labor and delivery. The case was tried to a jury, which returned a defense verdict. The plaintiff made an immediate oral motion seeking a mistrial on the basis of substantial juror confusion. The trial court granted the motion. Thereafter, the defendants made a post-trial motion to reinstate the verdict. The trial court denied the motion, but the appellate court granted the motion and reinstated the verdict. The plaintiffs then made a post-trial motion to set aside the verdict in the interest of justice. The trial court denied the motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Ruling of the Court

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department, affirmed the trial court’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion to set aside the jury’s verdict. The court first noted that the plaintiff’s motion was untimely. Under New York Consolidated Laws Civil Practice and Rule 4405, a plaintiff should file a motion to set aside a jury’s verdict within 15 days after the verdict in question is rendered, but the plaintiffs herein failed to do so.

The court also pointed out that, under New York Consolidated Laws Civil Practice and Rule 2215, the plaintiffs should have set forth every potential ground for post-trial relief in their opposition to the defendants’ post-trial motion to set aside the jury’s verdict. Instead, the plaintiffs had raised new issues in their (untimely) motion for relief.

The appellate tribunal went on to conclude that, even if were to reach the merits of the plaintiff’s motion, there was no abuse of discretion by the trial court with regard to the admission of certain expert testimony proffered by the defendants’ expert witness nor in allowing the defendants to proceed with a defense to the effect that the injuries complained of by the plaintiffs could have occurred during the birthing process absent negligence by the defendants. The court also ruled in the defendants’ favor with regard to the trial court’s exclusion of a statement allegedly made by a certain physician during the labor and delivery, agreeing with the lower tribunal that the statement was hearsay and did not qualify as an excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule.

Speak to a Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

For an appointment to discuss a possible Syracuse birth injury or other medical malpractice case, call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, at 315-479-9000 for a free case evaluation. Most cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, meaning that no attorney fees are collected until the matter is successfully resolved in the client’s favor via settlement or judgment.

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