State’s Highest Court Sides with Plaintiffs on Skill of Med-Mal Experts

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In undergoing an umbilical hernia repair, Plaintiff David Dubois suffered serious complications, spent several days in a coma, and needed additional surgeries to repair damage to his pancreas.

Medical expenses climbed to approximately $500,000.

What critical question did the Georgia Supreme Court Face?

What level of experience is required of a practicing surgeon – one who is offered as an expert witness in a medical malpractice case – to testify that another surgeon breached the applicable standard of medical care in the course of performing a surgical procedure?

How did the Justices Answer that Question?

Trial judges should have flexibility in determining whether an expert is qualified to testify in a medical malpractice case.

Why does it matter?

It’s simple. Fairness.

“The Supreme Court really did their job here, which is to set a standard so that people don’t get ambushed,” said Brent J. Savage, lead counsel for the Plaintiff.

Savage made the winning argument in the state’s highest court, persuading the justices that the Court of Appeals viewed the issues too narrowly. All of the justices agreed and reversed the lower court’s ruling.

Attorneys on the Case

For the Plaintiff: Brent J. Savage and Kathryn H. Pinckney, both of Savage, Turner, Durham, Pinckney & Savage, and co-counsel James B. Franklin, of Statesboro, Georgia.

The case is: Dubois v. Brantley, 775 S.E.2d 512, 513 (2015).

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