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Trial Court Improperly Admitted Incompetent Expert Testimony
Description Appeals court vacated a verdict against a physician and hospital for their alleged negligence at the birth of a child. The court found that the district court abused its discretion by improperly admitting the testimony of plaintiff's expert, who lacked knowledge of the medical literature regarding the key issue in the case.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Expert Testimony
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The parents of a child who suffered from cerebral palsy sued their obstetrician and the hospital where the child was born for negligence, contending that poor treatment at the time of birth caused the disease or caused it to be worse. Based upon expert testimony about the medical care given the child at the time of birth, the jury awarded them $3.2 million. The defendants appealed.
Decision Vacated and remanded. The testimony of the expert used by plaintiffs was defective under the Daubert and Kumho Tire standards set by the Supreme Court. The doctor "did not have the kind of specialized knowledge required to testify regarding causation, nor did he rely upon medical literature directly addressing the causation issue in this case. This deficiency rendered his expert testimony as to a critical issue in the case-causation-unreliable. Thus, admitting the testimony, based on the materials submitted in support of its validity, was an abuse of discretion [by the trial court]."
Citation Tanner v. Westbrook, 174 F.3d 542 (5th Cir., 1999)

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