DHD Trial Victory – Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Trial – Mark Petraske Secures Jury Verdict for Physician
Mark Petraske successfully defended a physician in a recent medical malpractice case and secured a “No-Cause” verdict after a 10-day trial in Burlington County. The case was complex and involved a dispute over whether a primary care physician failed to diagnose an evolving arterial occlusion in the lower leg and whether that alleged failure to diagnose resulted in the need for the amputation of the plaintiff’s leg below the knee. At trial, Mr. Petraske presented evidence which disputed the plaintiff’s contentions about the level of care and the alleged failure to diagnose by the physician, and effectively presented an alternative causation argument through expert testimony which showed that the likely cause of the plaintiff’s condition was unrelated to the physician’s care and treatment. The jury agreed with the defense presentation by Mr. Petraske and returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendant physician after deliberating for about 5 hours. In addition to the complex medical and scientific issues in dispute, the trial itself presented several procedural challenges brought about by Covid-19, including a “hybrid” approach to jury selection and participation – i.e., the jury was selected virtually but then the jurors attended the court proceedings in person. Most of the witnesses were live, but two witnesses appeared by video link. One interesting development during trial was that one of the attorneys and experts were diagnosed with Covid-19. Rather than declare a mistrial, the court stopped the trial for 5 days until the attorney and expert tested negative and the trial was then resumed to completion.