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6.2 Res Ipsa Loquitor



JANET KAMBAT, & C., ET AL., APPELLANTS, v. ST. FRANCIS HOSP., ET AL., RESPONDENTS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

1997 N.Y. Int. 15. February 13, 1997

4 No. 14 [1997 NY Int. 15] Decided February 13, 1997

In the typical res ipsa loquitur case, the jury can reasonably draw upon past experience common to the community for the conclusion that the adverse event generally would not occur absent negligent conduct (Prosser and Keeton, Torts  39, at 247 [5th ed]; Restatement [Second] of Torts  328 D, comment d).

F O O T N O T E

1. The modern trend tends toward allowance of experts to "'bridge the gap' between the jury's common knowledge and the uncommon knowledge of experts" by testifying in medical malpractice cases as to what is common knowledge within their specialized fields (Connors v University Associates, 4 F3d 123, 128 [2d Cir 1993];see, e.g., Locke v Pachtman, 521 NW2d 786, 793 [Mich 1994]; Mireles v Broderick, 872 P2d 863, 865-867 [NM 1994]; Buckelew v Grossbard, 435 A2d 1150, 1157-1158 [NJ 1981]; Walker v Rumer, 381 NE2d 689, 691 [Ill 1978]; Kerr v Bock, 486 P2d 684, 686 [Cal 1971]; see also, Restatement [Second] of Torts  328 D, comment d [expert testimony that such an event usually does not occur without negligence may afford a sufficient basis for the necessary inference]; Prosser and Keeton, Torts  39, 40, at 247, 256-257 [5th ed] [same]). Other jurisdictions disallow the application of res ipsa loquitur in medical malpractice cases if expert testimony is necessary to provide the requisite foundation (see, e.g., Haddock v Arnspiger, 793 SW2d 948, 951 [Tex 1990], rehg overruled [Sept 6, 1990]; Wasem v Laskowski, 274 NW2d 219, 225 [ND 1979]; Anderson v Gordon, 334 So2d 107, 109 [Fla Dist Ct App 1976]; Todd v Eitel Hospital, 237 NW2d 357, 361-362 [Minn 1975]; see also, Ablin, Res Ipsa Loquitur and Expert Opinion Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases: Strange Bedfellows, 82 Va L Rev 325 [1996] [criticizing application of res ipsa loquitur in medical malpractice cases]). [return to text]