Interesting Med Mal Case Headed to High Court

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear a medical malpractice case in which a Superior Court panel ordered a new trial on damages after finding a jury award of $29,207 on the wrongful death claim bore "no reasonable relationship to the proven damages."

But while it was the defendant in Carroll v. Avallone who petitioned for allocatur over the Superior Court's decision to order a new trial, what makes the case one to watch is the expert witness issue that was at the heart of the lower court's opinion.

The three-judge panel, led by Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Del Sole, said it was OK to let a defense expert conclude that drug use caused the plaintiff's fatal stroke. The court said it was following a 2003 Superior Court opinion that permitted experts to extrapolate conclusions based on the facts of a case.

The high court granted allocatur April 4. While it is certainly up in the air as to whether the justices will bother to examine the expert extrapolation issue, the court's order didn't limit its review, and according to Del Sole's opinion, the high court has yet to weigh in on the debate.

— Hank Grezlak, Editor-in Chief

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