Torts Keyed to Dobbs
States v. Lourdes Hospital
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Plaintiff Kathleen States underwent surgery for removal of an ovarian cyst. She believed that during the operation the anesthesiologist negligently hyperabducted her right arm beyond a 90-degree angle for an extended period of time, causing right thoracic outlet syndrome and reflex sympathetic dystrophy. She sued the hospital. At the close of discovery, Defendant Hospital moved for summary judgment on the ground that there was no direct evidence that the plaintiff’s arm was hyperabducted during surgery. Conceding the absence of direct evidence of negligence, Plaintiff opposed the motion, submitting expert medical opinion that her injuries would not have occurred in the absence of negligence. Plaintiff claimed this testimony could be used by a jury in support of a res ipsa loquitur theory. The trial court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment and permitted plaintiff to rely on the expert medical opinion for a res ipsa theory. A divided appellate division reversed, but the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court
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