The First Department concluded the trial judge improperly precluded the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action from presenting expert evidence alleging defendant doctor departed from the standard of care by failing to tie off plaintiff's decedent's femoral artery. The First Department determined the relevant theory had been raised in the bills of particular and notice of the expert's testimony had been timely provided (eight months before trial). A new trial was ordered before a different judge because the record demonstrated the trial judge's bias in favor of the defendants:
The trial court improvidently exercised its discretion in granting the motion and in dismissing the complaint based on the preclusion of evidence. Defendants' argument that they had no notice of plaintiffs' theory and were unfairly surprised is unavailing. The theory concerning vascularization of decedent's left leg was adequately disclosed in plaintiff's original and supplemental bills of particulars. Further, while CPLR 3101(d)(1)(i) does not require a party to retain an expert at any particular time … , here plaintiff served the CPLR 3101(d) expert disclosure notice about eight months before trial, which was sufficient notice … . Furthermore, during that period, defense counsel were present at several pretrial conferences and raised no objections to the expert disclosure, nor did they reject the notice… .
Given the improper preclusion of evidence, plaintiffs are entitled to a new trial … . Further, the matter should be remitted for trial before a different Justice, as the record shows that the trial court was biased in favor of defendants … . Dedona v DiRaimo, 2016 NY Slip Op 01779, 1st Dept 3-15-16
NEGLIGENCE (MEDICAL MALPRACTICE, EXPERT EVIDENCE IMPROPERLY PRECLUDED, NEW TRIAL ORDERED)/MEDICAL MALPRACTICE (EXPERT EVIDENCE IMPROPERLY PRECLUDED, NEW TRIAL ORDERED)/EVIDENCE (MEDICAL MALPRACTICE, EXPERT EVIDENCE IMPROPERLY PRECLUDED, NEW TRIAL ORDERED)/JUDGES (BIAS IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANTS REQUIRED ASSIGNMENT OF NEW TRIAL TO A DIFFERENT JUDGE)