Rowen v. Gonenne

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
  • Date Filed: 11-12-2015
  • Case #: A149358
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; Nakamoto; & Egan
  • Full Text Opinion

Trial court in medical malpractice case acted properly when it: (1) included a study presented to a center’s quality management committee, as it was not a written report “to a peer review body”; (2) excluded a 2010 study because its probative value was outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, as it contained information not available to Defendants in 2009; and (3) permitted Defendants to question Plaintiff’s surgeon about the circumstances of unrelated surgeries because it was relevant to establish causation.

Plaintiff appealed the trial court's verdict for Defendants in a medical malpractice case, assigning three errors to the trial court’s evidentiary decisions. Plaintiff argued that a benchmark study should have been excluded because it fell under ORS 41.675(2). The Court found that the study was presented to the Center’s quality management committee and therefore was not a “written report to a peer review body” within the meaning of ORS 41.675(2). The Court interpreted ORS 41.675(2) to apply to written reports prepared for a peer review body, and deferred to the trial court’s determination that the committee was not a peer review body. Plaintiff next argued that the trial court erred by excluding Plaintiff's proposed impeachment evidence, a 2010 study. The Court found that the trial court reasonably concluded that the probative value of the study was outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. The Court found that the 2010 study had the potential to mislead the jury, as the study presented medical knowledge not available to Defendant in 2009, when the alleged malpractice occurred. Finally, Plaintiff challenged trial court’s decision permitting Defendant to cross-examine Plaintiff’s surgeon regarding previous surgeries. Plaintiff argued the information was not relevant for establishing standard of care. The Court disagreed with Plaintiff, and held that the information was relevant for establishing causation. Affirmed.

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