Malpractice claim dismissed because plaintiff's expert spends more time in a sub-specialty of radiology
Scott Johnson sued Sultan Bhimani, M.D., and Advanced Diagnostic Imaging, alleging that Bhimani's error in reading Johnson's pelvic x-rays resulted in long-term complications for Johnson. Johnson's only expert witness was a doctor who was, like Bhimani, a specialist in diagnostic radiology. When he was deposed, however, the expert testified that he regularly spent more of his time in the sub-specialty of neuroradiology. On that basis, the defendants asked the Court to dismiss Johnson's case: it did not argue that the expert was not "qualified" by knowledge and expertise, but rather that he did not meet the Legislature's "tort-reform" requirements to testify. The trial court agreed and dismissed Johnson's claim. Two of the three Court of Appeals' judges agreed and upheld the dismissal. The dissenting judge vehemently disagreed with this outcome, stressing the substantial "overlap" between the practice of the relevant specialty and related sub-specialties, and a prior holding of the U.S. Supreme Court to the effect that "We need not leave our common sense at the doorstep when we interpret a statute."