Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lackawanna Trial Court Grants Motion to Preclude Cumulative Expert Opinion Testimony in Med Mal Case

In his decision in the case of Oscarson v. Moses Taylor Hospital, et.al., No. 2013-CV-1523 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Aug. 26, 2016 Nealon, J.), the court addressed a Plaintiff’s Motion In Limine seeking to limit alleged cumulative expert testimony in a medical malpractice litigation.  

By way of background, this medical malpractice litigation involved claims against various Defendants under allegations that a doctor interpreted the results of a needle biopsy as malignant, after which the Plaintiff underwent various surgeries only to allegedly find out from post-operative pathology studies that the surgical specimens were non-malignant.  

In a Pre-Trial Motion In Limine to preclude cumulative medical expert testimony, the Plaintiff sought to bar separate Defendants from presenting the expert testimony of two (2) separate pathologists at trial.   The Defendant countered with an argument that there is no requirement that multiple Defendants in an action must share or utilize the same standard of care expert in their defense.  

Judge Terrence R. Nealon
Lackawanna County
After his review of the issues presented and applicable Rules of Evidence and law related thereto, Judge Nealon noted that the expert pathologists at issue expressed essentially identical opinions from the same clinical perspective as pathologists.  

The court also noted that this litigation did not involve separate claims against multiple pathologists who could be jointly or severally liable for their independent negligence.  

Ultimately, the court found that there is no need for the separate Defendants to offer duplicate expert testimony of the same character from the same clinical perspective.  

The court found that allowing such evidence would result in the needless presentation of cumulative evidence in violation of Pa. R.E. 403.  

In so ruling, the court noted that testimony by medical experts with different specialties and different clinical perspectives would have presented a different scenario and would have been regarded as corroborative, rather than needlessly cumulative evidence.  

Overall, the court granted the Plaintiff’s Motion In Limine to preclude cumulative medical expert testimony under the circumstances presented in this matter.  

Anyone wishing to review this Opinion by Judge Nealon in the Oscarson case may click this LINK.

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