Monday, January 20, 2020

Appellate Court Affirms Refusal by Trial Court to Issue Adverse Inference Instruction Regarding Allegedly Altered Medical Records in Med Mal Case

In the case of Cragle v. O’Brien, 2019 Pa. Super. 360 (Pa. Super. Dec. 20, 2019 Gantman, P.J.E., McLaughlin, J., and Ford Elliot, P.J.E.) (Op. by McLaughlin, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a medical malpractice Plaintiff was not entitled to an adverse inference instruction relative to the alleged destruction of medical records.  The judgment entered below in favor of the Defendants was affirmed.

The appellate court more specifically noted that it agreed with the trial court that the Plaintiff had failed to expressly request the standard jury instructions for alteration or destruction of medical records. The Superior Court additionally noted that the Plaintiff failed to ensure that a transcript of the charging conference was included in the certified record on appeal. 

The appellate court also appointed to the fact that the Plaintiff had failed to submit a proposed jury instruction for the applicable statute to the trial court below. 

Lastly, the appellate court reiterated that, in any event, the parties all agreed that the events described in the allegedly altered portion of the doctor’s office notes never happened. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this case may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Jan. 7, 2020).

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