Maryland Court Discusses Exclusion of Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

In most Maryland medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff will need to produce expert testimony to establish the defendant’s fault. Such testimony must be based on reliable methods and scientific understanding, however, and if it is not, it may be excluded. This was demonstrated in a recent Maryland medical malpractice case in which the court found that concerns about the plaintiff’s experts’ reliability warranted exclusion. If you need assistance seeking compensation for harm caused by negligent doctors, it is wise to meet with a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer promptly.

Case Setting

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was in labor. arrived at a hospital where the defendant was the attending physician. During delivery, the plaintiff experienced shoulder dystocia, a condition where the passage of the fetal shoulder is obstructed. The defendant employed various methods to resolve the issue, and the infant’s body was delivered approximately one minute after the head. The infant was diagnosed with a right brachial plexus injury, resulting in weak arm movement. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant.

Allegedly, during discovery, the plaintiff identified two doctors as expert witnesses. The first doctor employed a differential diagnosis approach, concluding that the infant’s injury occurred due to the defendant moving the head during delivery. The second doctor attributed the infant’s injury to excessive traction applied by the defendant.

Reportedly, the defendants moved to preclude the plaintiff’s experts’ testimony, arguing it contradicted established medical consensus. The trial court conducted a Daubert hearing, where both experts revised their testimony, stating maternal forces could cause the infant’s injury. The court initially denied the defendants’ motion but after a second hearing, granted it, finding that the experts’ revised testimony diverged significantly from their deposition statements, warranting exclusion. The plaintiff appealed.

Grounds for Excluding Expert Reports

On appeal, the court upheld the trial court’s ruling, as it found that the experts’ altered opinions between their depositions and Daubert hearings were indicative of an unreliable methodology.

The court noted that the plaintiff argued that the court erred in excluding the experts’ testimony, asserting that even if inconsistencies existed, experts could clarify during Daubert hearings, and total preclusion was excessive. The defendant countered the change in expert opinions and their divergence from established medical consensus.

In its analysis, the court considered the flexibility of expert testimony evaluation, focusing on reliability rather than the correctness of conclusions. The court found significant alterations in the experts’ opinions, leading to their exclusion, as the changes appeared to stem from previous preclusion experiences rather than updated scientific understanding. This alteration raised concerns about the methodology’s reliability and adherence to professional standards.

While experts could adjust opinions, the court deemed such changes, particularly when unsupported by additional data or scientific advancements, potentially indicative of post-hoc rationalization and thus unreliable. Ultimately, the court’s decision aligned with the Daubert framework, emphasizing the need for consistency and reliability in expert testimony to ensure fair adjudication.

Meet with a Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you were injured due to medical errors, it is wise to meet with an attorney to determine your rights. The trusted Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at Arfaa Law Group can evaluate your harm and aid you in pursuing the maximum damages recoverable under the law. To arrange a meeting, you can reach us through our online form or by calling (410) 889-1850.

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