Florida Appellate Court Approves Limit On Number Of Medical Malpractice Experts Testifying At Trial

162017_132140396847214_292624_nIn its opinion filed on June 26, 2015, the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida Fifth District (“Appellate Court”) “receded” from its decision in a prior case that had held that with only very broad [sic] limits, all qualified expert opinion testimony in a medical malpractice case is to be permitted, even if it is cumulative to other evidence.

During the medical malpractice trial in the present case, the trial court had decided that each party be limited to one expert on the standard of care and one expert on causation (the plaintiff intended to call two interventional cardiologists to testify at trial on his behalf, arguing that although his experts’ testimony would be cumulative in some respects, it would be inappropriate for the court to limit him to one cardiology expert, citing the Appellate Court’s prior case).

The Appellate Court held that it was proper to review the trial court’s decision to limit the plaintiff in the number of medical experts that the plaintiff could call to testify at trial under an abuse of discretion standard, and the Appellate Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in this case, which had resulted in a defense verdict.

The Appellate Court stated, “we see no reason to permit litigants in medical malpractice cases to have an almost unfettered right to present cumulative expert witness testimony. We would observe that section 90.612(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2013), expressly requires a trial judge to exercise reasonable control over the presentation of the evidence so as to avoid the needless consumption of time, and section 90.403, Florida Statutes (2013), provides that relevant evidence is inadmissible if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a needless presentation of cumulative evidence. Furthermore, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.200(b)(4) specifically provides that at a pretrial conference, a trial court may consider and determine a limitation on the number of expert witnesses. Notably, neither statute nor the aforementioned rule carves out an exception for medical malpractice cases.”

The issue in the present case was what caused an occlusion of the plaintiff’s femoral artery following a cardiac catheterization: was the occlusion caused by the negligent placement of an Angio-Seal device that resulted in an immediately detectable blockage that was negligently not detected before the plaintiff was discharged from the hospital, as alleged by the plaintiff, or was the occlusion caused by a dissection of the lining of the artery that resulted in a slowly developing occlusion, which is a known potential complication of the procedure, for which there was no evidence of the occlusion prior to the plaintiff’s discharge from the hospital, as alleged by the medical malpractice defendants?

Source Paul Woodson v. Darlene Go, M.D., et al., Case No. 5D13-3311.

If you or a loved one were harmed as a result of medical negligence in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Florida medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 6th, 2015 at 5:42 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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