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New York-A trial judge has set aside a $16 million jury verdict for what he called reprehensible conduct by one of New York’s top medical malpractice attorneys, who had numerous heated exchanges with the judge. The judge, Stanley A. Green, whose court is in the Bronx, N.Y., said attorney Thomas A. Moore of Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore of New York “created a hostile climate that obscured the issues, rendered the trial unfair and was degrading to the institution of the Court.” The conduct so tainted the verdict that a new trial is warranted, he said. Smith v. Sophia AU, M.D., No. 22183/99. Green pointed to instances of combativeness between himself and Moore over court instructions, rulings on objections and how to question witnesses properly. Moore said he was upset by the ruling and has filed a notice of appeal. Though some of his remarks cited in the judge’s opinion were inflammatory, Moore said, they did not justify reversing a verdict from a two-week trial that ended without sanctions, a motion for a mistrial or a curative instruction to the jury. Caustic exchanges The jury decided for the plaintiff on three of five malpractice claims against doctors at Montefiore Medical Center who treated Kevin Smith, a former law firm clerk. He claimed that the doctors failed to diagnose problems that eventually led to a stroke. Green wrote that he tried to finish the trial “without declaring a mistrial or holding [Moore] in contempt of Court.” But “upon reflection” and consideration of a motion to set aside the verdict in part based on Moore’s conduct, the judge said, “It is apparent that plaintiff’s counsel’s conduct was reprehensible.” One of the more caustic exchanges came when Moore asked a doctor if he thought it was appropriate for a medical team to “be on the same page” in treating a patient. That question drew an objection from the defense attorney and this response from Green: “I don’t know what that means.” “You don’t, I think everybody else in the room does, Judge, but I will be delighted to rephrase it,” Moore replied. Green excused the jury and reprimanded Moore, saying he had a problem with his “attitude” and “demeanor.” In an interview, Moore said he was upset. He went on, “But I am far more upset by the fact that there is an innocent victim whose case is possibly prejudiced and time of redress is certainly delayed.”

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