Richard Schiller, Terri Boroughs & Chapin Scheumann Defend Appeal of Favorable Medical Malpractice Verdict – 2018
In December 2018, Richard Schiller, Terri Boroughs, and Chapin Elizabeth Scheumann successfully defended an appeal from a defense verdict that Mr. Schiller obtained in Grayson Circuit Court on behalf of a general surgeon. At trial, the patient claimed the physician had improperly removed a PEG tube placed following a procedure for her severe acid reflux, and alleged this removal led to subsequent bowel complications and surgery. The patient’s appeal was focused on the jury instructions used at the trial, which required the jury to answer separate questions regarding breach of the standard of care and whether any such breach was a substantial factor in causing the alleged injuries.
On appeal, the patient argued that having the jury answer two separate questions regarding the two-prong test for liability created a “higher burden” for the plaintiff, and risked confusing the jury. The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding “[t]he separate instructions merely asked the jury whether [the plaintiff] had met her burden at trial for each element of her alleged medical negligence claim,” and “… it seems to us that use of the separate interrogatories would assist the jury in understanding the necessity of considering each element of a negligence claim.” Compton v. Gonzales, No. 2017-CA-001095-MR, 2018 WL 6721296 (Ky.App. Unpub. 2018).