Court overturns summary disposition of medical malpractice claim where trial judge unduly restricted specialty of testifying doctor
Robert Langley sued Cynthia Rubert, M.D. and West Branch Orthopaedics after she suffered complications from a shoulder surgery. The Defendant was a specialist in orthopedics, as was the doctor who agreed to testify against her. The Defendants argued to the Court, however, that since the expert witness devoted most of his work to surgeries of the arm and shoulder, he was "too qualified" to testify against someone who didn't limit her orthopedic practice. The trial judge agreed and summarily dismissed the claim for lack of a qualified expert. The Court of Appeals reversed. It pointed out that there is no registered sub-specialty of arm and shoulder orthopedics, and that the witness testimony on which the Court relied was "taken out of context and unfairly characterized" by the defense attorneys. The case was reinstated.