Thursday, September 10, 2020

A Primer on the Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur


In the case of Snyder v. Scranton Hospital Co., LLC et al., No. 19-CV-83 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Aug. 28, 2020 Nealon, J.), the court denied the defendants' motions for partial summary judgment that asserted that the Plaintiff should not be permitted to rely upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in support of the claims presented.

According to the opinion, the Plaintiff underwent ear surgery but allegedly awoke with a severe left ulnar nerve neuropathy injury as a result of a compression injury allegedly due to the medical providers' failure to properly position, protect and assess his left arm while he was unconscious during the surgery.

The Plaintiff produced expert opinion evidence that such an injury does not happen during an ear surgery in the absence of negligence on the part of the medical providers.  The Plaintiff asserted that that expert evidence also served to eliminate other potential causes of the injury.

The defense produced its own expert testimony in support of claims that the Plaintiff 's injury was indeed the result of other unrelated causes.

The Court denied the motion given that there was a dispute between the experts as to whether the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur should be applied.  In the end, that issue was left for the jury to decide.

This Opinion offers a detailed recitation of the law surrounding the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.  Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.

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