Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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At issue in this medical malpractice action was Ariz. R. Evid. 615 and the proper remedy for technical Rule 615 violations. Rule 615 generally provides that a trial court, at a party’s request, must order witnesses excluded so that they cannot hear other witnesses’ testimony. The Supreme Court held that Rule 615, when invoked, prohibits a party from providing prospective trial witnesses with transcripts of prior witnesses’ trial testimony. The court further held (1) a violation of this prohibition is not presumptively prejudicial in a civil action, but even when no prejudice is shown, the trial court must take some corrective action by fashioning an appropriate remedy under the circumstances; and (2) although expert witnesses are not automatically exempt from the Rule, a trial court must permit a witness to hear (or read) a prior witness’s testimony if a party shows that such an exception is essential to that party’s claim or defense. View "Spring v. Bradford" on Justia Law

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In a medical malpractice action, a defendant may move for summary judgment based on a proposed expert’s lack of required qualifications under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 12-2604 without first challenging the sufficiency of the expert affidavit under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 12-2603. Further, an expert is unqualified to testify on standard of care pursuant to section 12-2604 if she did not engage in active clinical practice or teaching during the year immediately preceding the injury. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant after ruling that Plaintiff was permitted to introduce expert opinion on standard of care or causation under section 12-2604. The court of appeals concluded that Plaintiff’s expert was not qualified as a standard-of-care expert and affirmed the grant of summary judgment on this basis alone. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the court of appeals in part and remanded the case, holding (1) the court of appeals properly found that Plaintiff’s expert was unqualified to provide expert standard-of-care testimony; and (2) because the court of appeals did not decide whether Plaintiff’s expert was qualified as a causation expert and whether causation testimony was legally necessary, this case must be remanded to the court of appeals to address those issues in the first instance. View "Rasor v. Northwest Hospital, LLC" on Justia Law

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After Jerome Walsh died, Elizabeth Walsh and the couple's four children filed a wrongful death action against Advanced Cardiac Specialists Chartered (ACS) and its employees (collectively, Defendants). Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants had caused Jerome's death by failing to diagnose and treat an infection. The jury found in favor of Plaintiffs and awarded $1 million to Elizabeth but no damages to the children. The children moved for a new trial, arguing insufficient damages and that the verdict was not justified by the evidence. The trial court denied the motion, finding that Plaintiffs had waived the issue. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether wrongful death claimants whose trial testimony on damages is uncontroverted, but who receive a jury verdict awarding zero damages, are entitled to a new trial on damages as a matter of law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a jury may award no compensation in these circumstances if it deems that award to be fair and just; and (2) although a new trial is not automatically required, the trial court may grant one pursuant to Ariz. R. Civ. P. 52(a) if it determines the award is insufficient or not justified by the evidence. Remanded. View "Walsh v. Advanced Cardiac Specialists Chartered" on Justia Law