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New York appeals court emphasizes importance of judge neutrality

| Jun 28, 2013 | Birth Injuries

Dealing with a birth injury can be a draining and expensive experience for a parent in New York City and often they choose to file a lawsuit against the hospital or doctor in an effort to meet the additional medical care their child needs. Many injuries caused by medical staff can result in a child who struggles with cerebral palsy, requiring ongoing medical care for the child’s entire life. The role of a justice or judge to make sure that the atmosphere in the courtroom remains neutral so that a jury can decide for themselves if the doctor or hospital is at fault.

However, apparently that did not happen in one medical malpractice case according to an appeals court in New York. Upon examining the records of the trial, the members of the court found that the justice made comments which were not neutral, criticizing the plaintiff’s attorney and preventing the same attorney from cross-examining at least one expert witness from the defense. 

As a result of the justice’s behavior, the appeals court felt that the plaintiff deserved a new trial for the claim that the hospital injured the woman’s baby when they conducted a medical procedure. The ruling of the court points out that it is important for judges to refrain from imposing their personal opinions or thoughts in a court proceeding. When someone is deciding to file a malpractice claim it may be a good idea to talk with an experienced attorney who can explain the legal process to them and help them receive a fair trial.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Retrial Ordered After Judge Belittled Lawyer,” Jeff D. Gorman, June 19, 2013

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