Charlton v. Troy, 2020 Pa. Super. 170, 236 A.3d 22 (July 16, 2020)

The Superior Court held that the trial court’s error in permitting plaintiff’s use of a neurology textbook to cross-examine the defendant was prejudicial.

This medical malpractice claim involved an allegation brought by the parents of a child against health care providers for a permanent spinal cord injury during delivery. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. On appeal, the defendants argued that the trial court erroneously allowed the plaintiffs to utilize a neurology textbook to cross examine the defendant physician. The Superior Court agreed and held that there was no foundation that would establish that the neurology textbook was a learned treatise for the limited purpose of impeaching the defendant. The plaintiffs’ expert failed to render any opinions regarding the reliability of the text and it was not established whether the text was authoritative.

Accordingly, the case illustrates the importance of laying the proper foundations for specific items of evidence. From the defense perspective, this case provides an example for the importance of evaluating a plaintiff’s evidence.


Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2021 is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2021 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.