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DECISIONS DECISIONS n TORTS expert medical testimony may be used in factually simple medical malpractice claims brought on the res ipsa loquitur theory when it would help to explain the likelihood that the accident would take place without negligence where a basis of common knowledge is lacking, the New York Court of Appeals said on May 6. States v. Lourdes Hosp., No. 51. Kathleen States sued the anesthesiologist present at her cancer surgery for medical malpractice, saying he negligently positioned her arm during surgery, causing an injury. During discovery, the defendant disputed the source of States’ injury. States countered with an expert’s opinion that the injury wouldn’t have occurred in the absence of negligence. The trial court denied the defendant’s summary judgment motion, concluding that a jury could rely on the expert’s opinion in the context of a res ipsa loquitur case. An intermediate appellate court reversed, but New York’s highest court overturned that ruling. “In the circumstances presented,” the court wrote, “we conclude that expert testimony may be properly used to help the jury ‘bridge the gap’ between its own common knowledge, which does not encompass the specialized knowledge and experience necessary to reach a conclusion that the occurrence would not normally take place in the absence of negligence, and the common knowledge of physicians which does.” NEW FILINGS

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