Articles Posted in Evidentiary Issues

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents an interesting issue that frequently comes up in Maryland personal injury cases. The specific claim at issue was over the defendant’s access to the plaintiff’s private Facebook account.

Legal News GavelThe court ultimately concluded that the defendant met the necessary showing that the requested evidence was material and would likely lead to the discovery of relevant evidence. Thus, the court compelled disclosure of some of the information, posts, and photographs in the plaintiff’s private Facebook account.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff suffered a serious brain injury while riding a horse that was owned by the defendant. The plaintiff filed a personal injury claim against the defendant. In her claim, the plaintiff noted that while she used to be very active on social media and enjoyed traveling, cooking, etc., she could no longer enjoy these activities because she had a difficult time composing messages that made sense. She also claimed that she had become reclusive, and, while she used to post on social media “a lot,” she rarely did so after the accident.

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Earlier this month, a Michigan court issued an interesting opinion regarding the admissibility of evidence in a medical malpractice case. In the case, Rock v. Crocker, the appellate court held that there is a very specific manner in which lower courts should approach questions of evidence admissibility, and since the court below applied the law in the wrong manner, the case was remanded to give the lower court the opportunity to do so correctly.

Legal News GavelThe Facts of the Case

Crocker, the plaintiff, had ankle surgery performed by the defendant in 2008. Shortly after the surgery, the defendant advised Crocker he could put weight on his ankle without a problem. However, Crocker did not put weight on the ankle and continued to allow it to heal. Just a few months later, however, Crocker required an additional surgery because the defendant allegedly failed to fuse all the necessary bones during the first surgery. Upon hearing this, Crocker filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant.

At trial, Crocker presented an expert who testified that the defendant was negligent in failing to use enough screws to connect the bones and also in advising that Crocker can put weight on his ankle too early after the surgery. However, the expert also testified that these failures did not cause any injury to Crocker. The plaintiff acknowledged that the expert’s testimony did not prove causation – i.e., that the defendant’s negligence resulted in his injuries – but argued that it was relevant to the defendant’s general competence as a surgeon. The court agreed and allowed the expert’s testimony to be considered.

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