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Case Law Update: Use of Experts in Medical Malpractice Closing Argument

Wilbourn v. Cavelenes, No. 1-08-3609 (2-10-10) affirmed a decision involving a medical malpractice case jury trial with a verdict for the Defendants. The trial court was within its discretion in striking one basis for the Plaintiff’s expert’s opinion as to why Defendant surgeon used certain compression plate for fracture, and in instructing the jury to disregard expert’s statement that he had never seen or heard of other type of plate failing or breaking within one month. The trial court was within its discretion in denying motion for new trial as to defense counsel’s closing argument that Defendants had to wait 3 1/2 years for Plaintiff to develop her theory of case, as court’s instruction that closing arguments were not evidence sufficient to occur error; and isolated reference to Plaintiff’s counsel as “slick lawyer” would not have affected outcome. This case will impact Illinois medical malpractice law.