Thursday, November 19, 2015
On Monday, I posted about defendants attempting to use med mal tort reform protections to make it harder to recover for falls in hospitals. In a similar vein is a recent Alabama case in which a doctor attempted to invoke a prohibition against discovering and introducing at trial evidence of other malpractice to avoid the admission of the evidence as modus operandi (FRE 404(b)(2) or state equivalent). The claim, however, was that the doctor had sexually assaulted the plaintiff during the course of medical treatment. In Ex parte Vanderwall, — So.3d —- 2015 WL 5725153 (Ala. 2015), the Alabama Supreme Court held the prohibition only applies in med mal cases, which do not include cases of sexual assault. The plaintiff was, therefore, able to use past instances of sexual misconduct incidental to medical treatment as proof that the doctor responsible for that misconduct assaulted her as well. Alex Stein has more blogging at Harvard's Bill of Health.