Georgia’s Supreme Court Clarifies Qualifications of Expert Witness in Medical Malpractice Case
DeKalb Superior Court heard testimony from an expert witness in a medical malpractice case, but the trial court dismissed the suit because the witness did not meet the expert affidavit requirement under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-9.1 (a). Georgia’s Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court’s decision, and the case went to the Supreme Court of Georgia.
The Supreme Court noted an error made in the Appeals Court decision. During the trial, the plaintiff issued some “constitutional challenges” to O.C.G.A. § 24-7-702 (c), which were not addressed by the trial court and were “thus not preserved for appeal.” The Court also explained that the trial court should take into account Dubois v. Brantley, 297 Ga. 575 (2015), in which the Court clarified the above-mentioned statute as it relates to expert witness qualifications.
The Supreme Court vacated both the Appeals Court and the trial court’s decisions and returned the case to the trial court so that it could reconsider the expert witness testimony. The Court, however, did agree with the trial court in striking the testimonies of two other expert witnesses.