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Maryland Court Discusses Preservation of Objections to Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

In most medical malpractice cases filed in Maryland it is critical for the plaintiff to present expert testimony to establish that the defendant care provider is liable for the plaintiff’s harm. In many cases, the defendant will try to argue that the plaintiff’s expert is not qualified to offer an opinion on the disputed issues, or that the expert failed to establish that the defendant deviated from the standard of care, in an effort to preclude the expert from testifying at trial. If a defendant does not properly preserve its objection to a plaintiff’s expert’s testimony, however, the defendant may waive the right to object. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland overturned a trial court ruling a plaintiff’s expert could not testify at trial. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is critical to retain a skilled Maryland medical malpractice attorney to fight to protect your interests.

Procedural History of the Case 

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant due to the defendant’s failure to diagnose the plaintiff with oral candidiasis in a timely manner. Prior to trial, the defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying on the grounds that the expert did not define the applicable standard of care during his deposition. The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s case, as the doctor that was prohibited from testifying was the plaintiff’s only expert witness. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in excluding her expert’s testimony.

Expert Qualifications in a Medical Malpractice Case

Pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-415(h), certain objections are waived if they are not made during a deposition. For example, objections to the competency of a witness, or the relevance or materiality of testimony are waived if they are not made during a deposition, and an objection would enable the opposing party to remove or eliminate the grounds for the objection. In the subject case, the plaintiff argued that the defendant failed to object to the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony during his deposition and therefore waived the right to object.

During the expert’s deposition, the defendant’s counsel made clear and concise objections to the presentation of the witness as an expert. Specifically, she objected on the grounds that she did not believe he had been properly qualified as an expert under Maryland law. The court noted, however, the objections were to having the witness recognized as an expert in internal medicine, not to having the witness recognized as an expert on the standard of care. During the deposition, however, the expert was asked numerous questions regarding the treatment the defendant rendered to the plaintiff without objection from the defendant’s counsel. Thus, the court found that the defendant waived the right to object to the witness as an expert on the standard of care and reversed the trial court ruling.

Discuss Your Harm with a Skilled Malpractice Attorney 

If you sustained injuries due to incompetent care rendered by a medical professional, you should meet with a skilled medical malpractice attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover damages. The knowledgeable attorneys of Arfaa Law Group have the skills and experience needed to assist you in pursuing a favorable result, and we will fight diligently on your behalf.  You can contact us through our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a confidential and free conference to discuss your case.

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