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Ravo v. Rogatnick

Court of Appeals of New York
514 N.E.2d 1104 (1987)


Facts

Josephine Ravo (plaintiff) was rendered severely and permanently disabled owing to brain damage at the time of her birth. She sued the delivering obstetrician, Sol Rogatnick (defendant), and the treating pediatrician following her birth, Irwin Harris (defendant), for malpractice. At trial, Ravo presented evidence that Rogatnick had contributed to her injuries by failing to acquire significant medical information about her mother, failing to correctly estimate Ravo’s size at delivery, and using inappropriate surgical methods. Ravo presented evidence that Harris had contributed to her injuries by misdiagnosing and improperly treating Ravo after her birth. No evidence was presented that could demonstrate which elements of Ravo’s injuries were caused by Rogatnick’s negligence versus Harris’s. A jury decided in Ravo’s favor, awarding her $2,750,000. The jury concluded that Rogatnick had committed eight acts of malpractice and Harris, three. It assigned to Rogatnick 80 percent responsibility for Ravo’s injuries; to Harris, 20 percent. Harris filed a post-trial motion seeking to limit the damages recoverable against him to 20 percent of the total awarded. The court denied his motion; the Appellate Division affirmed. Harris appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alexander, J.)

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