Clines v. Janocik was issued by the Court of Appeals in June of this year. Hard to believe, but this is yet another case where Plaintiff's counsel failed to hire the proper expert. In this instance the injured's attorney hired a forensic nurse to review the medical records. She was then offered as a "medical expert" to testify regarding the proper standard of care the Plaintiff's physician should have exercised. The Court of Appeals granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants dismissing Plaintiff's case.
The circuit court determined that Nurse Klien-Kracht was not qualified to render an expert opinion upon the proper standards of care, and we cannot say that the circuit court abused its discretion by so deciding. Savage, 390 S.W.3d 104. In short, Nurse Klien-Kracht did not possess the requisite knowledge or experience to enable her to render an expert opinion as to the standard of care or alleged breach thereof by Murphy, Janocik, or Werner (all doctors).
So the rule is, if your case relies upon evidence that is beyond the average layperson's knowledge,
an expert witness is required. In medical malpractice cases you better have a doctor reviewing another doctor and not a nurse practitioner. In this case the "expert" was a nurse who never worked in an oncology department, yet was testifying about the standard of care due a patient by their oncologist. Nurses can testify as experts about other nurses, but not about doctors.
The right expert is crucial in presenting your case to a jury, make sure yous has the appropriate credentials.