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Marshall Dennehey Attorneys Successful in Legal Malpractice Action Arising Out of a Complex Wrongful Medical Diagnosis Case

On October 10, 2023, Marshall Dennehey attorneys Jack Slimm and Jeremy Zacharias were successful in a legal malpractice action arising out of a multi-party and complex wrongful medical diagnosis case. In reaching its decision, the trial court relied upon Morris Properties, Inc. v. Wheeler, 2023 WL 2249975 (App. Div. February 28, 2023), another case which Jack and Jeremy successfully handled at both the trial and appellate level. 

The legal malpractice action arose out of an underlying medical malpractice lawsuit in which the plaintiff sued a hospital and several pulmonologists alleging permanent injuries as a result of a misdiagnosis of interstitial lung disease. The plaintiff alleged that the medical malpractice law firm handling her case deviated from the standard of care.

In deciding the legal malpractice action, the trial court looked to the Morris Properties decision which dealt with the very same issue presented to the court in this case. The court held that, like in Morris Properties, the plaintiff’s expert failed to present competent expert evidence on proximate causation and damages, and thus barred the plaintiff’s expert report and testimony. 

Following the decision, the plaintiff moved for reconsideration, which the court denied. The plaintiff also sought to submit a revised expert report on the eve of trial, but the court also denied this motion, finding it would be unduly prejudicial to the defense. 

Once the court properly barred the plaintiff’s expert’s opinion, it was compelled to grant summary judgment to the defense as the plaintiff did not have a medical liability expert to testify to the claims asserted in the complaint. The court properly held that without expert testimony, the plaintiff was not able to satisfy her burden of establishing applicable standard of care and breach of the standard, as well as damages. 

As a result, Jack and Jeremy were successful in having the potential highly-valued legal malpractice action dismissed. 

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