November 29, 2020

The New York Appellate Division, Second Department (“New York Appellate Court”), in its opinion dated November 4, 2020, affirmed a New York birth injury medical malpractice verdict in the amount of $46 million, finding that the jury’s verdict was supported by the evidence introduced at trial.

The defendants had filed a post-trial motion, seeking to set aside the verdict on the issue of liability and to set aside the verdict on the issue of damages and for a new trial or, alternatively, to reduce the amount of damages awarded as excessive. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion only to the extent of setting aside the verdict and directing a new trial on the issue of certain damages unless the plaintiff stipulated to reduce the verdict as to future pain and suffering from $10,000,000 to $3,500,000 and to reduce the period of time during which the plaintiff would incur certain future economic damages from 90 years to 45 years.

New York Appellate Court Opinion

With regard to the defendants’ argument that the jury’s verdict on the issue of liability was not supported by a fair interpretation of the evidence, the New York Appellate Court stated that a jury verdict should not be set aside as contrary to the weight of the evidence unless the jury could not have reached the verdict on any fair interpretation of the evidence, and that the jury’s resolution of the credibility of conflicting expert witnesses is entitled to great weight, as it is the jury that had the opportunity to observe and hear the experts. The New York Appellate Court held: “Here, the jury’s determination that the defendant Geddis Abel-Bey departed from accepted medical practice during the mother’s labor and delivery of the infant and that such departures proximately caused the infant’s injuries was based upon a fair interpretation of the evidence presented at trial and, thus, should not be disturbed.”

With regard to the defendants’ argument that the amount of the damages was excessive, the New York Appellate Court stated, “the damages award, as reduced and stipulated to by the plaintiff, does not deviate materially from what would be considered reasonable compensation … Moreover, the award of the cost of private education for the infant and for certain future economic damages over a period of 45 years was not speculative, but was based on the evidence presented at trial.”

Source Correa v Abel-Bey, 2020 NY Slip Op 06239.

If you or your child may have been injured during pregnancy, labor, or delivery as a result of medical malpractice in New York or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a New York medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a birth injury medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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