The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this veterinary medical malpractice lawsuit and its proceedings.)
A [veterinarian] is not necessarily negligent just because [he/she] chooses one medically accepted method of treatment or diagnosis and it turns out that another medically accepted method would have been a better choice.In Williamson v. Prida, supra, the plaintiff’s expert testified that he didn’t agree with some of the defendant veterinarians’ treatment decisions, that he “couldn’t see the reason” for their choice and that he thought their treatment was overzealous. The court of appeal confirmed that such expressions of personal preference or personal opinion are not probative of any issue before the court in a professional negligence case:
That is not evidence of standard of care. [T]he fact that another physician or surgeon might have elected treat the case differently or use methods other than those employed by [the] defendant does not of itself establish negligence. [Citations] … This disagreement does not establish the standard of care, or a violation thereof.Id. at 75 Cal.App.4th at 1425-1426.
The personal preference in the performance of a prepurchase examination of plaintiff’s expert witness, or the fact that he might have selected a different approach or course than the Veterinary Defendants did, is not relevant or probative, and carries the risk that the jury will be confused or misled. Accordingly, such testimony can and should be excluded.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.