Court Affirms Verdict in Favor of Defendants in Birth Injury Case Despite Allegations of Juror Misconduct.

In a decision recently released by the Supreme Court of Vermont, a verdict in favor of the defendant in a birth injury case was upheld on appeal. The plaintiffs did not receive an award from the jury after a trial in the case of Labate v. Rutland Hospital, since the jury found that the plaintiffs did not prove that the defendant violated a standard of care to which the plaintiffs were entitled.

hammer-to-fall-1223606The plaintiffs appealed after learning that the defendant had sent an email to all of its employees during the trial, and that email may have been received and read by one of the jurors who had previously worked at the company and remained on the mailing list. The plaintiffs argued a motion for a new trial based on the potential spoliation of the jury, which was dismissed because there was no proof that the juror actually saw, read, or discussed the email.

The Plaintiffs’ Child is Tragically Born with Cerebral Palsy

The birth injury lawsuit that was the basis of this appellate decision was filed after the plaintiffs had a child at the defendant hospital in August 2007, and she was born with cerebral palsy. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit, alleging that the negligence of the medical providers in not delivering the baby at the right time and in the correct manner resulted in oxygen deprivation and the development of cerebral palsy, which the defendants should be responsible for. The defendant challenged the plaintiffs’ allocation of responsibility for the child’s birth injuries and argued that they did not violate any standard of care in delivering the child.

A Plaintiff’s Responsibilities in a Birth Injury Lawsuit

In a Maryland birth injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate to the jury that there is a standard of care to which all patients in similar circumstances are entitled, and also that the defendant violated the standard of care, resulting in the injuries for which the plaintiff is seeking compensation. According to the recent opinion, the jury found in a 2014 trial that the plaintiffs failed to prove what the standard of care was to which they were entitled, and therefore they could not prove that the defendant violated that standard and should be held responsible for the injuries.

The plaintiffs’ claim that the juror misconduct tainted the verdict was not taken seriously by either the lower or higher court, since there was no proof that any juror actually saw the defendant’s communication, and no realistic allegation was made that would explain how reading that email would have changed the jury’s decision. It is always easier to convince a district court of a problem before the verdict comes in than to convince an appellate court of a problem after the case is finalized. Because of this, the plaintiffs will not be compensated for their child’s birth injury.

Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a birth injury, obtaining the best possible lawyer from the beginning can prevent you from needing to appeal your case in order to be compensated for your injuries. The experienced birth injury and medical malpractice attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt have decades of experience handling complex birth injury and malpractice cases, and we can make the right arguments the first time to get you what you deserve. We focus our practice on birth injuries and medical malpractice, and we represent victims nationwide. Contact the qualified Maryland and D.C. birth injury attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt today. Call us at (410) 567-0800 or contact us through our website to schedule a risk-free consultation.

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