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Corbett v. Weisband

Pennsylvania Superior Court
551 A.2d 1059 (1988)


Facts

Lucille Corbett (plaintiff), an elderly woman with a history of medical issues, particular with her legs, underwent surgery on her left knee, performed by Dr. Jamilio DeMoura, M.D. (defendant). Following the surgery, Corbett came under the care of Dr. David Weisband, D.O. (defendant), who began treating her for a post-operative knee infection. During that time, Dr. Weisband performed a left-knee fusion on Corbett at Metropolitan Hospital (defendant). The fusion proved unsuccessful. Corbett was then seen and treated by Dr. Greene, who performed a total left-knee replacement. Approximately 11 months later, Corbett was hospitalized again for nine months, after she broke her left leg as she was climbing out of bed. During that time, Corbett’s knee implant was removed because it had become infected. When the infection failed to clear, Corbett’s leg was amputated above the knee. Corbett filed a number of separate negligence lawsuits against the defendants that were later consolidated. A suit against Dr. Greene was not consolidated. The trial was bifurcated in terms of liability and damages. At trial, Corbett provided extensive medical testimony that Dr. Greene’s action of performing a total knee replacement feel below the appropriate standard of care. At the close of the liability trial, the court entered a compulsory nonsuit in favor of Dr. DeMoura. At the end of the trial against Dr. Weisband and the Regional Orthopedic Professional Association (ROPA) (defendant), a group of physicians with which Dr. Weisband was associated, the defendants argued that Dr. Greene’s intervening conduct was “highly extraordinary,” and thus a superseding cause of Corbett’s injuries. The jury held in favor of Corbett and awarded her $150,000 in damages. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The defendants appealed. Corbett appealed the trial court’s decision in granting the nonsuit to Dr. DeMoura and claimed that due to several erroneous trial rulings, the verdict in her favor was inadequate.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rowley, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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