Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Here's something you don't see every day: "The plaintiff maintains that she was deprived of a fair trial by several erroneous evidentiary rulings, as well as the improper conduct of the defense counsel. We agree."

My interest piqued, I went to the decision to see just what so moved the Second Department. "The defense counsel made many improper, inflammatory remarks during
the cross-examination of the plaintiff's experts and summation For instance, during the cross-examination of one of the plaintiff's expert witnesses, the defense counsel repeatedly characterized the witness's responses as "lies," accused the witness of "deliberately misleading the jury," and called him "an evasive person" as well as a "professional" witness. In summation, he stated "[T]he man is a lie," and argued that the witness was a "self-admitted professional witness.*** The trial court also improperly permitted the defense counsel, during the cross-examination of the plaintiff, to utilize the plaintiff's bill of particulars in order to suggest that she was litigious in suing another physician."

This must have been some transcript, because the stuff the Second Department is describing, while certainly aggressive, doesn't seem to me to rise to the level of reversible error. Maybe it is-- actually, now we know it is-- but calling an expert a professional witness has always seemed to me to be fair comment.

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