Maryland Court Allows Defendant to Admit Evidence of Previously Named Defendants Who Settled with the Plaintiff Out of Court

Earlier this month, a Maryland appellate court issued a written opinion in a medical malpractice case brought by the surviving loved ones of a man who died while in the care of the defendant doctor. The case required the court to determine if the lower court was proper to allow the defendant doctor to admit evidence that there had previously been other doctors named as defendants, but they all settled the case out of court prior to the case reaching trial. Ultimately, the court concluded that the lower court was proper to allow the evidence, and it affirmed the jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant doctor.

Hospital BedThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs filed a wrongful death by medical malpractice case against the defendant physician, claiming that he was negligent in the interpretation of X-ray images that eventually led to their loved one’s death. The case was filed against the defendant doctor as well as the three doctors who treated their loved one after the defendant. The cases against the three other doctors were all settled out of court.

At trial, the one remaining doctor wanted to explain to the jury that there had originally been four named defendants, but three of them had settled the cases against them. The defendant doctor also wanted to claim that these non-present parties were the ones who were ultimately responsible for the plaintiffs’ loss. The plaintiff filed a motion to prevent the defendant from discussing the non-present parties, but the trial court denied the plaintiffs’ motion and allowed the evidence. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.

The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the lower court was improper to allow the jury to hear the evidence. However, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision. The court held that the evidence of the previously named defendants was relevant to the causation analysis. The court explained that one of the jury’s chief duties was to determine whether the defendant doctor caused the plaintiffs’ loved one’s death. In making this determination, the conduct of the other doctors was relevant. The court determined that it was also relevant that the other doctors had previously been named as defendants but had settled their cases prior to the case reaching trial. As a result, the jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant was affirmed.

Have You Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, it is critical that you discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. As the case discussed above shows, a plaintiff’s failure to name all of the appropriate parties may result in one defendant shifting the blame to a non-present party. The skilled injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience handling wrongful death cases, and we understand the strategic decisions that must be made to recover compensation for our clients. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Appellate Court Rejects City’s Assertion of Immunity in Recent Personal Injury Case, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, June 9, 2017

Legal Liability for Accidents Occurring on Guided Tours in Washington, D.C., Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, May 23, 2017

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