Massachusetts court upholds spine surgeon's lawsuit victory


The Massachusetts appeals court on Jan. 25 upheld a verdict in favor of a spine surgeon accused of botching a woman's spine surgery in 2010.

Four things to know:

1. Leslie Stern, MD, PhD, operated on Patricia Chace in May 2010. Her personal representative, Nichole Chace, said an expert would use MRI images taken in August 2010 and December 2011 to argue that hardware was "malpositioned" during surgery.

2. Two of Dr. Stern's defense experts used imaging to argue that the hardware was properly positioned during surgery and later shifted. Nicole Chace said she thought the experts' opinions weren't sufficiently disclosed during pretrial discussions, and they shouldn't have been allowed to make that argument.

3. Nichole Chace argued the trial judge abused his discretion in letting Dr. Stern's experts testify and that her attorney was "unfairly surprised" by them.

4. The court opinion states: "We conclude that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in ruling to admit the defense experts' testimony. The disclosures as to both experts sufficiently put the plaintiff on notice as to the substance of their opinions that the hardware was properly placed by the defendant, and moved some time later." 

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