Appellate Court Awards Plaintiff New Trial In New York Medical Malpractice case After “Inflammatory” Comments

Appellate Court Awards Plaintiff New Trial in New York Medical Malpractice Case After “inflammatory” Comments

Medical malpractice lawsuits and open access to the justice system are some of the most important ways that medical providers are held accountable for their conduct.

Through this process medical care for everyone is made better when those hurt by negligent care come forward and seek redress.

Unfortunately, some continue to push the misguided notion that the civil justice system is rife with abuse and that those who are injured by mistreatment should not seek justice via the courts.

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It is one thing for those comments to made by TV pundits or in the heat of political debates.

It is quite another for those comments to be voiced by a defense attorney inside the courtroom in the middle of a case.

The remarks serve only to confuse jurors and undercut a plaintiff’s fair trial.

When that does happens, it is important for the judge to step in.

For example, two weeks ago the Brooklyn-based Appellate Division, Second Department, of Supreme Court of New York held in the New York medical malpractice case Maraviglia v. Loshina that a defense attorney’s “inflammatory” statements were sufficient to warrant a new trial.

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The Original Verdict

In that case, the plaintiff brought suit against a Stony Brook Anesthesiology and others because of claims of mistreatment during surgery for chronic knee pain.

The plaintiff alleges that during a spinal procedure to relieve her pain, she ended up with partial paralysis of one leg.

After a five to one jury decision against the plaintiff, the Supreme Court in Suffolk Country awarded a verdict for the defendant.

The Appellate Division's Verdict

The plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Division, an intermediate appellate court in New York, against an order by the Supreme Court denying her motion to set aside the jury verdict as a matter of law or to order a new trial and against the final judgment itself.

The Appellate Division in a unanimous decision reversed the judgment and ordered a new trial on the issue of the defendant’s liability.

The new trial will take place back in the Supreme Court of Suffolk County, where the trial originated.

The Appellate Division also issued a costs order in favor of the plaintiff.

What the Appellate Division Said

The Appellate Division stated that the defense attorney made “inflammatory and inappropriate summation comments” and “an inappropriate cross examination” in front of jurors.

The defense attorney in question, who was unnamed in the opinion, repeatedly claimed in court that the plaintiff was “working the system.”

The Appellate Division also cited that the defense attorney called the plaintiff’s physician the “go to” doctor in Suffolk County for patients who want to stop working, claimed the plaintiff’s expert anesthesiologist was “out of control” and questioned about mishaps even though there was no evidence of mishaps linked to the expert’s practice, and asserted the credibility of a defense expert by thanking “God there are people like [him] who are the stopgap.”

The defense attorney defended his in-court statements in this case, saying they were “definitely fair comment.”

He noted that the trial judge considered a motion on this issue and rejected it.

Mr. Kelly also stated that he intends to continue to represent the defense in the upcoming retrial.

New York Medical Malpractice Victims Need an Advocate

Regardless of how the retrial turns out in Suffolk County, this case is yet another reminder of the need for all victims of New York City medical malpractice to have a fair but aggressive advocate on their side.

In an effort to avoid accountability, some deep-pocketed medical interests try to stop talking about the evidence in the case and instead appeal to emotion and irrelevant issues.

At the end of the day one issue matters in these cases:

Did the patient receive unreasonable care that caused them harm?

The accountability function of our civil justice system depends on private individuals hurt by inadequate care to come forward and demand redress.

No matter what inflammatory remarks are made in or outside of the courtroom, this basic principle remains unchanged.

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About Anthony T. DiPietro

Founder Anthony T. DiPietro, Esq. is a compassionate and skilled trial attorney who has completely dedicated the past 23 years of his career to litigating medical malpractice and sexual abuse cases against major corporate institutions including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and other wrongdoers.

Mr. DiPietro has also obtained some of New York State’s highest verdicts and settlements, and has been selected to New York State Super Lawyers® each year, for the past 10 years in a row.

In 2022, Mr. DiPietro was selected as one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators for the landmark cases he’s won on behalf of survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse.

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