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Court upholds directed verdict in favor of doctors because 35-year O.B. Gyn expert not qualified

Charlotte Lewis sued Amanda Yancy and her professional limited liability corporation, arguing that Yancy caused complications and an unnecessary surgery by the manner in which Yancy performed a D and C.  Lewis presented the testimony of a 35-year specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, who testified that Yancy should have re-checked the placement of Essure coils and found a disruption before surgery was necessary.

The Defendants argued that because the Plaintiff's experts didn't actually insert Essure coils himself, and couldn't point to a single article in the medical literature telling how they should be inserted, his opinion was not "reliable."  The expert testified that his years of experience justified the opinion he offered. The defendants also argued that since the Plaintiff's expert was eligible to certify in the sub-specialty of fertility, he should not be allowed to testify against another O.B. Gyn who did not practice a sub-specialty.

The Court of Appeals rejected the latter argument, noting that the expert spent a majority of his time practicing the same specialty, Obstetrics and Gynecology, as the Defendant and did not spend a majority of his time practicing a sub-specialty in fertility.  It also pointed out that foundation of the defendant's argument was defense counsel's own misleading questioning.

Nevertheless, the Court held that the Plaintiff's expert's testimony was not admissible to establish the standard of care because he could not cite literature support for his opinions.  His own several decades of experience in related issues was not adequate to make his testimony reliable.

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