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Warren v. Imperia

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-12-2012
Case #: A143459
Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Hadlock, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A143459.pdf

Evidence: The informed consent of a patient, in a medical malpractice claim, may be excluded from trial because its probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect.

Imperia Laser Eye Centers (Imperia) appealed a jury verdict for plaintiff, Warren, in a medical malpractice suit. Warren sought treatment for an eye condition and at the suggestion of her ophthalmologist, was treated with conductive keratoplasty (CK), a procedure using radiofrequency, in the hopes that this would correct the eye condition. After the surgery, Warren experienced a host of negative effects and brought a medical malpractice suit against her ophthalmologist and Imperia. Imperia appealed the jury verdict in favor of Warren on the basis the trial court erred in excluding pre-surgery discussions and documents, regarding the risks and alternatives to the procedure. Imperia argued the evidence was relevant to the issue of proper assessment of Warren before the surgery. The Court of Appeals held that the trial court's exclusion was proper because evidence of informed consent is irrelevant to a claim for negligence and the probative value of such evidence is outweighed by its prejudicial effect under OEC 403.