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Appeals court gives mother retrial in medical malpractice case

Everyone has the right to a fair trial, whether it's a personal injury case or a criminal one. If it's determined that a judge or jury's decisions weren't fair and the outcome is less than desirable, the plaintiff may have a chance for a retrial. It's a judge's responsibility to make sure that a trial remains fair and unbiased throughout the entire process in Georgia.

In New York, an appeals court granted a mother a retrial in her medical malpractice case against Northern Westchester Hospital Center. The jury originally ruled in favor of the hospital, and the appeals court said their decision may have been influenced by the trial judge's behavior. The court decided that the judge was unfairly biased against the woman's attorney, and said she was entitled to a new trial under another justice.

According to the original case, the woman’s newborn daughter had received injuries from being intubated in 2000, and developed respiratory problems. The baby had required several surgeries, including a thoracotomy as a result of her intubation injuries.

The appellate judges said the trial judge interrupted, belittled, and admonished the woman’s lawyer, allowing the defense more leeway with examination and cross-examination with witnesses. Although the judge indicated the mother’s lawyer was overly aggressive and antagonistic, this did not excuse the right to give the woman a fair trial.

Medical malpractice cases can be emotionally charged and difficult to represent, as well as to preside over for a judge. However, there is no reason to deny any person a fair trial, no matter how the judge or jury may feel.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Retrial Ordered After Judge Belittled Lawyer,” Jeff D. Gorman, June 19, 2013

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