Bergstrom v. Assoc. for Women’s Health of So. Ore.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 02-01-2017
  • Case #: A158700
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Shorr, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Expert testimony does not have to be offered to prove a specific complaint allegation in order to be relevant under OEC 401.

Plaintiff appealed a jury award on behalf of Defendant. Plaintiff sued Defendant, Obstetrics Clinic, for injuries to Plaintiff’s Child during the delivery of Child. At trial, the court did not allow Plaintiff to present testimony from an expert witness regarding the sufficiency of ultrasounds. The trial court reasoned that the testimony was outside of the scope of the pleadings which merely stated that Clinic “knew or should have known” that injuries would result. Plaintiff argued on appeal that evidence of insufficient ultrasounds directly related to what Clinic “knew or should have known” when treating Plaintiff. Clinic argued the pleadings should have contained a specific allegation regarding the ultrasounds. Under OEC 401, evidence is relevant if it has “any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.” The Court concluded that the ultrasound evidence was relevant to the allegations in the case, and that Clinic could have moved under ORCP 21 D for a more definite and certain allegation if necessary. Reversed and remanded.

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